Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho signs copies of her new book  "Memorias de una Infamia" ,Memories of Infamy, after its launching…
FILE - Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho signs copies of her new book 'Memorias de una Infamia,' Memories of Infamy, in Mexico City, Feb. 7, 2008.

A former Mexican governor suspected of ordering the torture of an investigative journalist who had accused him of links to a pedophilia ring appeared in court Thursday to formally face charges.

Mario Marin, who was the governor of the state of Puebla from 2005-11, asked to be placed under house arrest for the duration of the legal process, citing health problems and fear of catching COVID-19 in jail. The judge will decide on request next week. The 66-year-old former governor is in detention for the time being.

In 2005, award-winning journalist Lydia Cacho had alleged in her book The Demons of Eden that Marin, who has been a fugitive since April 2019, and several prominent Mexican businessmen were linked to a child pornography ring.

"I have been seeking justice for 14 years for having been tortured by this accomplice of child pornography networks," the journalist wrote on Twitter.

“He is the first governor arrested for acts of torture against journalists and linked, furthermore, with a ring of trafficking girls and boys,” Cacho said.

In December 2005, agents of the Puebla prosecutor's office arrested Cacho in Cancun and drove her to Puebla. She was accused of slander and defamation.

Cacho was later released.

She alleged that on the road from Cancun to Puebla officials psychologically tortured and threatened to sexually abuse her.

The press freedom organization Artículo 19, which is representing Cacho, said that if convicted, Marin could face up to 12 years behind bars.

Cacho, who now lives overseas, has won many international awards including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom prize.