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Mexico urged to investigate torture

March 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

MEXICO CITY, March 5 (UPI) -- Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto should break with the past by investigating a woman's allegations of military torture, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

The group said that under the drug war launched by the previous president, Felipe Calderon, charges of abuse and torture by the police and military increased sharply.

"The Calderon administration effectively turned a blind eye to the 'torture epidemic' we've been witnessing in Mexico," Rupert Knox, an Amnesty International researcher, said. "The protection of human rights was ignored or sidelined in favour of the government's strategy of militarized combat of organized crime and drug cartels."

Knox cited the case of Miriam Isaura Lopez Vargas, who was arrested in 2011 after taking her children to school, and released almost three months later after a judge found there was no evidence against her. She said she was held for several days in a military barracks where she was tortured and sexually assaulted to get her to admit to drug crimes.

"Almost 100 days on from the day when Pena Nieto took office, there has been virtually no tangible progress on his promises to improve the human rights situation in the country, with virtually no movement on investigations into cases of torture, enforced disappearances, violence against women and abuses against migrants," Knox said.

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