Director of controversial documentary receives new death threats, blames Mexico City judge

By Alsha Khan

Roberto Hernández, the Mexican director of the controversial documentary “Presunto Culpable,” reported on Monday having received new death threats and is accusing the president of Mexico City's Court of Justice, Edgar Elías Azar, of being behind them, Aristegui Noticias reported.

Hernández filed a complaint with the country's Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression and blamed Azar for the two consecutive threats he received, news site Milenio informed.

The threats came shortly after Hernández accused Azar of waging a vendetta against him on account of the documentary’s exposure of the vices of the capital’s judicial system. Hernández said “there is evidence that the documentary deeply angered” Azar.

Azar has publicly denied that there is any such vendetta against the documentary’s director, Animal Político reported.

In an interview with Noticias MVS, Hernández said that he received two threats by phone, the first on Nov. 8 and the second on Nov. 11. Hernández investigated the calls and discovered that both threats were made from a pay phone in the city's eastern borough of Iztapalapa.

Hernández posted on his Twitter account that authorities had not come to investigate the site after he informed them about it. He posted a photograph of the pay phone, noting that it had not been cordoned off and that authorities had not gone to collect fingerprints or to question neighbors.

The Special Prosecutor's Office offered him protection and told him it is "very likely" they would find the person who made the threat, Hernández said in a phone interview with El Mañanero.

Presunto Culpable, (Presumed Guilty) tells the story of José Antonio (Toño) Zúñiga, a young Mexican street vendor who was wrongly convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison without sufficient evidence against him.

The film was censored three weeks after its premiere in February 2011 and led to a slew of legal cases against its producers. It is the most watched documentary in Mexican history.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.