Prison director guarding 'El Chapo' rejects torture allegations

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 23, 2016 at 2:09 PM
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MEXICO CITY, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has repeatedly said he has been tortured through mistreatment while imprisoned but Altiplano Federal Prison Director Salvador Almonte Solís says the drug kingpin is not being tortured and is merely trying to play the victim.

In a letter to a judge, Almonte Solís said there is no reason to believe Guzman's life is at risk, adding that the imprisoned drug lord is attempting to victimize himself while causing instability in the prison.

Guzman recently filed a formal complaint alleging he has been tortured and his health has deteriorated while under the care of prison officials. He said officials won't allow him to see his family and won't allow him to sleep due to roll calls every two hours.

As required by Mexican law, Almonte Solís responded in a letter to a judge where he rejected all allegations brought forward by Guzman.

"This authority has never inflicted severe pain or suffering that translate into acts of torture against the accused. It is completely false and lacking proof, the claims he makes. Therefore there is no reason to suppose that his life, integrity or health is in danger," the prison director wrote. "The truth is that his human rights are unreservedly respected."

Guzman's allegations have gone so far that he has said he is becoming a "zombie" -- while his lawyers accuse prison authorities of subjecting his client to "physical and mental torture."

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.

"I do not fail to mention that it is completely untrue that his rest is disturbed at night or during the day," Almonte Solís added. "The act that he has not had a family visit is not attributable to this authority, as his family has not shown interest in meeting the established requirements in terms of authorizing visits."

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