Lydia Cacho (f), journalist and human rights defender

Re: Lydia Cacho (f), journalist and human rights defender

To: Attorney Generals and Secretary of the Interior

From: Monique Pongracic-Speier, Mexico Monitor, LRWC

Date: 2007-05-23

I write to express LRWC’s concern about an apparent attempt on the life of journalist and human rights defender Lydia Cacho.

On May 7, 2007, Ms. Cacho arrived at the Mexico City airport on a flight from Ciudad Juarez, accompanied by three agents of the Agencia Federal de Investigación (“AFI”). The agents were providing protection to Ms. Cacho due to death threats levied against her in 2005 and 2006.

Ms. Cacho and her group were met by another AFI agent who delivered a 4×4 Chevrolet Suburban vehicle owned by the Procuraduría General de la República (“PRG”). We understand that the vehicle was provided to ensure that Ms. Cacho had a safe means of travel to the centre of Mexico City. Ms. Cacho, the agents accompanying her, and some other journalists to whom Ms. Cacho had offered a lift, left in the car for the centre of Mexico City. An AFI agent was driving.

As the car was proceeding down the highway, it began to shake violently. The driver nearly lost control and was obliged to pull over. An AFI agent checked the car and noticed that the bolts on one of the wheels appeared to have been sawn down. The driver of the vehicle is reported to have said that he thought the wheel would have come off and caused a serious accident, had he not stopped the car.

We are advised that Ms. Cacho has filed a complaint regarding the incident with the PRG. Ms Cacho believes that the car was intentionally sabotaged to kill her, and is perhaps related to the publication of her book on child trafficking and prostitution, Los Demonios de Edén, or the fact that Ms. Cacho gave evidence against a businessman accused of trafficking and child prostitution in Puebla City on May 2, 2007.

LRWC is concerned about the tampering with a vehicle intended to carry Ms. Cacho for several reasons. First, we note that Ms. Cacho has suffered threats on her life in the past, and has been subjected to outrageous harassment for her work as a journalist in exposing child prostitution in Mexico. There is every reason to suspect that the May 7, 2007 incident was probably a threat on Ms. Cacho’s life. Second, LRWC is deeply concerned that the May 7th incident may be an instance of witness tampering and harassment, and thus undermine the integrity of the justice system.

LRWC urges the addressees to fully review the adequacy of the protective measures that are currently being provided to Ms. Cacho. We also urge you to cause a prompt, full and impartial investigation into the apparent sabotage of the PRG vehicle intended for Ms. Cacho’s travel. Finally, we urge you to make the results of the investigation public and to prosecute the saboteur(s) in accordance with the law.

Please advise LRWC of the steps that you are taking in response to the matters raised in this letter.