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Mexican journalist facing suit from former governor must submit to a psychological test

Mexican journalist and researcher Sergio Aguayo received the first of two psychological evaluations ordered by the judge in a case against him, after being sued by the former governor of the state of Coahuila de Zaragoza, Humberto Moreira.

The former governor and former president of the International Revolutionary Party (PRI for its acronym in Spanish) sued Aguayo for moral damages in June 2016, six months after the journalist published in Reforma and other media one of his weekly opinion columns about the former official’s arrest for money laundering in Spain.

Aguayo told Vanguardia that on Feb. 27 and March 1, an expert in psychology, selected by Moreira, would evaluate him three hours each day based on a questionnaire prepared by the former governor.

“These questions were approved by the 15th Judge in Civil matters in Mexico City, Alejandro Rivera Rodríguez. [...] In my opinion, the questions take my guilt for granted,” Aguayo told Vanguardia.

Aguayo’s lawyers have asked Mexico City’s Judiciary Council to assign another judge to the trial. Aguayo said that the judge has been acting in a partial way to favor Moreira, Proceso reported.

In his lawsuit for moral damages, Moreira also asked for a reparation of 10 million Mexican pesos (about US $496,000) for being affected in his “feelings, beliefs, decorum and reputation,” Proceso said.

On Moreira’s request, Aguayo said on his website: “I have a working hypothesis; he wants to intimidate me and wear me out because I am directing, from El Colegio de México, an investigation into the 2011 massacre in Allende, Coahuila (the Zetas disappeared in this and other municipalities an indeterminate number of people: the most cited number is 300).”

However, Aguayo said on his site that although this will be a long and exhausting legal battle, he has elements to build a good defense in court.

According to Proceso, Moreira had to leave his post as governor of Coahuila (2005-2011) after being accused of money laundering and contracting an illegal debt of about 35 million Mexican pesos (about US $1,740,000) during his term.

During his time in office, Coahuila also suffered a wave of violence resulting from clashes between the Sinaloa and Los Zetas cartels, resulting in killings, shootings and kidnappings, especially in the business sector, Proceso reported.

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.

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