U.S. Resident to Be Tried in Mexico for Child Sex Abuse

A court has ordered a prominent Cancun businessman be held over for trial on charges of child pornography and child sexual abuse, a week after he was extradited from the United States, his lawyer said Saturday.

Jean Succar Kuri, who claims he is innocent, was notified of the ruling in his cell in Cancun city prison, defense lawyer Efrain Trujeque said.

Trujeque said he will present evidence showing his client in innocent.

Succar Kuri is a legal U.S. resident who Mexican prosecutors say lured poor girls in the Caribbean resort of Cancun to his home so that he and his friends could have sex with them. The target of an investigation in Mexico in 2003, Succar Kuri fled to the United States but was arrested during a traffic stop in Arizona in February 2004.

As he fought extradition, his case gained notoriety across Mexico following the December arrest of Lydia Cacho, a journalist who wrote a book about pedophilia in Cancun. Titled "The Demons of Eden," the book linked Succar Kuri to another prominent businessman in the central state of Puebla.

Cacho has been charged with libel and slander and is free on bail.

Human rights groups said top officials in Puebla conspired to unfairly target Cacho. The case became a national sensation in February, with the release of audio tapes apparently featuring Puebla Gov. Mario Marin and the Puebla businessman plotting to jail Cacho.

Cacho has since accused Marin and other top state officials of abuse of power, attempted rape, influence peddling and violating her human rights. Mexico's Supreme Court agreed in April to investigate an alleged plot by Marin and the Puebla businessman.

The matter was fast-tracked to the Supreme Court, bypassing lower tribunals by a special act of Congress after the tapes surfaced in February.

Lawmakers claimed Cacho's rights had been violated and worried that Marin would unfairly influence judges, prosecutors and police in his home state, making it difficult to investigate her accusations.

There have been calls to remove Marin from office, but the only authority with the power to do so is Puebla's legislature — which is dominated by allies from the governor's Institutional Revolutionary Party.