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Inordinate delays in resolution of PRI politician's lawsuit against journalists over book

(CENCOS/IFEX) - The lawsuit initiated by Gerardo Sosa Castelán, current federal congressman for the state of Hidalgo, against Alfredo Rivera Flores, Miguel Angel Granados Chapa and others, for alleged moral damages, has dragged on for three and a half years without even the stage involving submission of evidence being concluded.

Several irregularities have occurred in the handling of the case, such as the slow and inefficient handling of various agreements, as the file itself reveals. As well, the plaintiff claimed that the signature on a motion filed by defence lawyer Perla Gómez Gallardo was not hers; despite the fact that Gómez Gallardo herself ratified her signature, the judge, without prior notice, accepted Sosa Castelán's lawyer's claim that the motion was not acceptable because it had allegedly not been signed by Gómez Gallardo.

Sosa Castelán, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI), filed his lawsuit for alleged moral damages over the book, "Sosa Nostra: porrismo y gobierno coludidos en Hidalgo", written by Rivera Flores, with a prologue by Granados Chapa. The lawsuit also accuses the Miguel Ángel Porrúa publishing company and the photographer who took the photo used on the book's cover of shared responsibility for the alleged moral damages.

The conduct of Judge 29 of the Superior Court of Mexico City, D.F., Miguel Ángel Robles Villegas, and its Agreements Secretary, Laura Alanís Monroy, has made it possible for the lawsuit to serve as a means of inhibiting free expression, and to prevent people who are victims of these kinds of acts committed by public figures from receiving any support from the media. This, in turn, jeopardizes democracy in Mexico, warns Libertad de Información-Mexico A.C., a non-governmental organisation that has taken on the legal defence of the journalists without charging for their services.

CENCOS asks Magistrate Edgar Elías Azar, head of the Superior Court of Mexico City, D.F., to fulfill his obligation to ensure that cases are dealt with without undue delay in their resolution. CENCOS also asks Sosa Castelán and his lawyers to stop impeding the legal proceedings though practices that not only harass the journalists in question with legal actions but also constitute an indirect restriction on free expression.

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