Torture in Mexico widespread: Amnesty International
Cases of torture and mistreatment of criminal suspects in Mexico are "systematic and widespread", Amnesty International said in a report.
"Across Mexico, criminal suspects often face detention and trial on the basis of evidence obtained under torture and ill-treatment, while prosecutors and courts fail to question seriously information or evidence obtained in this manner," Rupert Knox, Mexico researcher at Amnesty International, was quoted as saying on the group's web site.
Figures obtained from the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico's equivalent of an ombud's office, show that in recent years reports of such abuses by police and security forces increased by more than 400 percent, from 392 cases in 2007 to 1,669 cases in 2011.
But, according to the executive director of AI Mexico, those figures do not reflect the true scale of the problem.
"Since the CNDH only intervenes when federal public officials are implicated or involved in abuses, we can conclude that these figures show only a small part of the reality," Alberto Herrera said in presenting the report in Mexico City.
He noted that abuses by state and municipal law enforcement are not included in the statistics even though the federal government acknowledges that around 90 percent of criminal offences occur in the country's 32 state jurisdictions and in the Federal District (Mexico City).
Many cases also are not reported due to lack of trust in the justice system and fear of reprisals, Herrera said.
The increase in cases of torture and ill-treatment has occurred, according to the report "Known Abusers, But Victims Ignored", in a context of a massive police and military deployment to combat drug cartels and a "severe public security crisis".