MEXICO CITY – A police officer and a judge were detained in southeastern Mexico for jailing and trying to prosecute a journalist allegedly without evidence and in retaliation for his reporting, authorities announced Thursday.
Journalist Pedro Canche was arrested after covering a protest in the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, in the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo. He was held from August 2014 until May 2015 on accusations of "sabotage in prejudice of society."
He had published stories critical of government authorities, and prosecutors said the warrant for his arrest came "as a retaliation for his journalistic activity."
The federal prosecutor's office said in a statement that neither the investigative officer nor the judge had "any evidence whatsoever" to support a prosecution.
Canche called the arrests a step in the right direction and said it was an example of things working correctly at a special division of the prosecutor's office that focuses on crimes against freedom of expression.
"It is very rare in Mexico for a journalist to get justice, but when the will is there, it can happen," he told The Associated Press.
He called for former Gov. Roberto Borge to be held accountable, alleging that the official ordered others to act against him.
Borge, who was Quintana Roo's governor from 2011 to 2016, is currently under arrest on corruption charges. He denied those accusations during court appearances in Panama, which extradited him to Mexico in January.
"Nothing will give me back those nine months in prison," Canche said, adding that "there must be accountability."
Mexico is one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
According to the CPJ, 45 have been killed in the country since 1992 for motives related to their work, including six last year alone.
Threats to reporters come from the country's powerful cartels and also in many cases from local government officials angered by their coverage.