Judge Allows Controversial Documentary to Return to Mexican Theaters

One day after "Presumed Guilty" was pulled from theaters, an appellate court on Tuesday reversed a judge's order to suspend it.

MEXICO CITY -- An appellate court has reversed a judge's order to suspend screenings of the hit documentary Presumed Guilty just one day after the controversial film was pulled from theaters.

Distributor Cinepolis issued a statement Tuesday saying the movie will be back in theaters as soon as it receives official notice from the court.

Presumed Guilty (Presunto Culpable) sheds light on the failings of the Mexican justice system, which presumes defendants are guilty until proven innocent. The film documents the retrial of street vendor Jose Antonio Zuniga, who was serving a 20-year sentence for a murder he did not commit.

The main witness who testified against Zuniga filed a complaint with a Mexico City district court claiming he did not give his consent to appear in the documentary. The district court judge's decision to order the temporary suspension of the film sparked outrage.

The filmmakers, who allege the court order is an attempt at censorship, have insisted throughout the ordeal that the Mexican Constitution allows the right to record a public hearing. At issue was the right to privacy versus freedom of information and the latter prevailed in a unanimous decision by the appeals court Tuesday.

Before Presumed Guilty was pulled on Monday, it had grossed $3.6 million in three weeks, surpassing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 as the highest-grossing documentary ever screened in Mexico. The film has benefited tremendously from all the buzz surrounding the suspension and it's poised to continue the successful run upon its return to theaters.

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