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Latino Daily News

Friday September 5, 2014

Women in Mexican Prisons Face Sexual Torture, Says Amnesty International

Women in Mexican Prisons Face Sexual Torture, Says Amnesty International

Photo: Amnesty International

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Mexico has not fulfilled its international obligations regarding prevention and punishment of sexual violence against women in custody, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

AI released in Mexico City its report entitled “Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-treatment in Mexico,” in which it cites rape and other forms of sexual violence as some of the most common methods of torture in the country.

“Women are particularly vulnerable to sexual torture while in custody, yet women detainees are held in military bases and police facilities by male officials without effective measures to guarantee their physical safety against sexual attacks and humiliation,” the document says.

According to AI, the trauma inflicted on these women, combined with the lack of access to immediate, impartial and gender-sensitive medical attention, makes it very difficult for them to complain.

“The psychological impact of such torture is often exacerbated when demanding justice as victims are frequently required to undergo repeated medical examination over several years,” the report says.

The report notes that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Mexico to establish gender-sensitive protocols and procedures to investigate sexual violence.

“This has not been carried out and the cases documented in this report indicate that allegations of sexual violence committed against women in custody are not being investigated effectively,” AI said.

As an example, AI cites the case of women who suffered sexual violence at the hands of the police on May 3-4, 2006, during the suppression of a protest in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico state, whose then-governor, Enrique Peña Nieto, is now president of the Aztec nation.

More than 200 demonstrators, including 47 women, were arrested in a joint operation among the federal, state and municipal police in which the excessive use of force and torture predominated.

At least 26 women complained of being sexual attacked by the police, AI said.

Despite the fact that Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission and Supreme Court called for prosecutions of the police involved, not a single officer was accused of torture.

Instead 22 police were tried on lesser charges and acquitted following a botched investigation, AI said.

Only when the case came before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2012 were arrest orders issued for two former police officers, who were accused of torture and remain in custody pending trial.

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