Español Allegations of abuse and torture in Mexico have seen a dramatic 600 percent increase over the past decade, according to a report from Amnesty International (AI), an NGO dedicated to the defense of human rights.
This is the first in a series of five country reports to be published as part of the organization’s global Stop Torture campaign.
The investigation, “Out of control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico,” points to the war on drugs as the primary factor behind the drastic rise in reported incidents: “torture and other ill-treatment increased beginning in 2006, as violence grew dramatically as a result of the government-led ‘war on drugs.'”
The report notes that between 2010 and 2013, the Mexican National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) received 7,000 complaints of torture and abuse. However, the Attorney General’s Office only initiated 1,219 investigations between 2006 and 2013, filing charges in just 12 cases.
“The fact that the Public Ministry and judges did not rigorously examine the legality of arrests or investigate allegations of arbitrary detention encourages the abuse of the power of detention, and flagrant falsification of evidence by the police and security forces,” the report says. Often torture is used to extract “confessions,” and testimony to be used as evidence in trials.
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According to Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, “Amnesty International’s own survey found 64 percent of Mexican citizens are afraid that they would be tortured if detained by the authorities.”
“It is time to radically overhaul the investigation of allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, particularly the application of the internationally recognised standards of the Istanbul Protocol. The Mexican authorities must also ensure that the evidence gathered by independent medical experts can be recognised in judicial proceedings,” Rosas concludes.
Levels of violence rose dramatically after Mexican President Felipe Calderón escalated the federal crackdown on drugs in 2007. In the past nine years, more than 70,000 people have died in drug-war associated violence.
Source: Amnesty International.