Wednesday night a federal judge suspended all screenings of a controversial documentary film which tracks the failings of the Mexician criminal justice system.
After being shown in international film festivals throughout 2010, “Presumed Guilty” was released in Mexico this year. The story of a young Mexican wrongfully sentenced and imprisoned for murder, the film has grossed about 18.5 million pesos (US$1.5 million) since opening on February 18, making it the most successful Mexican documentary of all time, according to the film’s distributor.
Judge Blanca Lopez Dominguez ordered that the film be blocked because a witness in the film, cousin to the murder victim, said he had not granted filmmakers permission to use his image. A key turning point in the film comes when the witness changes his initial statement, a development which helped the wrongfully accused protagonist, Antonio Zuniga, win his eventual release from prison.
The film, made by British filmmaker Geoffrey Smith and Mexican lawyer Roberto Hernandez, is highly critical of court proceedings in Mexico, which frequently involve closed-door trials.
The trailer for “Presumed Guilty” can be seen below.