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Mexican documentary 'Presumed Guilty' finds justice

The following is a CPJ Blog post by Sara Rafsky, CPJ Americas Research Associate:

In the three years since its theatrical premiere, the Mexican documentary "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable") has earned enough headlines to make any film publicist envious. The movie has been banned, disparaged, acclaimed, and the subject of multiple lawsuits. Along the way, it has broken every documentary box office record in Mexico. Now a series of judicial decisions in the past week suggests that, while the discussion it sparked will continue, the film's legal battles may be drawing to a close.

The documentary follows the efforts of the lawyers Roberto Hernández (the film's director) and Layda Negrete (its producer) to overturn the murder conviction and 20-year jail sentence of a young street vendor and aspiring rapper and break dancer named Antonio Zúñiga. Over the years shown in the film, leading up to his 2008 exoneration and release, Hernandez, Negrete, and Zúñiga's legal team reveal the flaws of a Mexican justice system that does not recognize the presumption of innocence and that not only failed the defendant but is inherently broken.

Read the full story on CPJ's site.

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