'El Chapo' says he's becoming a 'zombie' as lawyer alleges torture

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Feb. 16, 2016 at 1:32 PM
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MEXICO CITY, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said he is becoming a "zombie" while imprisoned due to constant roll calls as his lawyer accuses officials of torture.

Juan Pablo Badillo, one of Guzman's attorneys, continues to accuse prison authorities of subjecting his client to "physical and mental torture." Badillo said officials are not granting Guzman enough access to his lawyers, adding Guzman is allowed to see one lawyer a week for about half an hour.

During an interview with Radio Formula, Badillo said officials are harming his client because they do not let him sleep.

"He told me verbatim: 'Every two hours at night, they wake me stridently for roll call. ... They are converting me into a zombie, they don't let me sleep. What I want is, nothing else, for them to let me sleep,'" Badillo said.

In January, another lawyer, Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza, said Guzman complained about a dog keeping him awake in jail.

"They wake me for roll call in the day every hour and in the night every two hours, and there is a dog on the side that barks a lot and also scares my sleep," Guzman wrote in a letter to Gonzalez Meza.

Additionally, Badillo said he is not seeing his client enough to mount a proper defense.

"The Constitution states that inmates are entitled to have as many lawyers as they want and to have direct communication to address the issues necessary for their defense," Badillo said.

On the matter of possible extradition to the United States, Badillo said Guzman wishes to be "judged by Mexican law."

Guzman could be extradited to the United States after a lengthy process that could take years. He could be tried in New York, Chicago and/or California.

Guzman was captured in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa on Jan. 8 after escaping from Mexico's Altiplano Federal Prison on July 11.

Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States, according to a recent report by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The report states the criminal organization is most powerful "along the West Coast, through the Midwest and into the Northeast."

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