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Torture in Mexico increases, Amnesty International says

It added torture, as an investigative method, is widespread.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   Sept. 4, 2014 at 8:29 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Reported cases of torture by Mexican police and military personnel have increased 600 percent in a decade, the humanitarian organization Amnesty International said Thursday in a report.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received over 7,000 complaints regarding torture to obtain false confessions between 2010 and 2013, none of which, Amnesty International said, resulted in a torture conviction.

"Torture is so widespread in Mexico and sort of expected as an investigative technique," said Maureen Meyer of the organization. "It's not sanctioned. It's not necessarily a state policy to torture but in fact it's very much permissive and the torturers are never investigated."

The author of the report, Rupert Knox, said Mexican citizens are routinely detained after arrest for up to 80 days, and evidence is fabricated. The false statements they make to authorities are routinely regarded by judges and juries as legitimate evidence.

The government's concentration on prosecuting drug cartels, from 2006 to 2012, resulted in an increase in torture claims and a culture of tolerance of torture, Knox said.

Meyer said, "The pressure on these forces to produce 'results,' coupled with weak controls over their actions, has meant that abuses, such as torture, have skyrocketed. The use of torture is more than just a serious human rights problem. It is a practice that is crippling Mexico's efforts to fight crime and reduce violence."

Since Enrique Pena Nieto was elected as president in 2012, allegations of torture have decreased, although no specific actions have been taken to reduce the practice.

A 2014 report by another humanitarian group, Human Rights Watch, noted Mexico's criminal justice system is "corruption, inadequate training and resources, and the complicity of prosecutors and public defenders," and a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, said in April, "I'm obligated to tell the government of Mexico, but also Mexican society, that there is an epidemic of torture that needs to be corrected."

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