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Mexico

    December 11, 2015

    Two new bills addressing the epidemic levels of torture and disappearances in Mexico offer a ray of hope for victims and family members, Amnesty International said today after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the two bills to be presented before Congress.

    "Torture and disappearances are like a plague in Mexico that needs to be eradicated," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International has campaigned for over a year to combat torture in Mexico and has frequently highlighted the situation of disappearances in the country, including the case of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa subjected to enforced disappearance since September 2014.

    For too long victims and their relatives have waited for an end to Mexico's widespread use of torture and the countless number of disappearances.

    December 09, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada

    The hug, the smiling faces outside the barbed wire perimeter of El Hongo Prison, tell this latest good news story from Mexico!

    Adrián Vásquez is free from a nightmare of torture and unjust imprisonment – free, at last, to return to his wife Judith and their family.

    Adrián’s release came in the early morning of December 2nd, more than three years after he was picked up by police in Tijuana and tortured so badly that he required life-saving surgery. The 33-year-old bus driver and father of four was driving his car when police pulled him over, accused him of being a notorious drug trafficker driving a stolen vehicle.  Their “evidence” alone was used to charge and imprison Adrián for three anguished years while his trial was ongoing.

     

    Hours after Adrián’s release, there was more good news!

    December 03, 2015

    In the past 24 hours, judges in two states in northern Mexico have released torture victims who have spent years in prison away from their families and young children, providing hope for justice in countless similar cases of people tortured and detained unfairly, Amnesty International said today.

    Bus driver and father of four Adrián Vásquez was released in the early morning of 2 December from prison near Tijuana, more than three years after he was arrested and tortured by state police and accused of being a high-level drug trafficker.

    Just hours later, Cristel Piña, a 25-year-old mother of two, was released from a prison in Ciudad Juárez, more than two years after being arrested and brutally beaten and tortured with sexual violence until she agreed to confess on videotape to extortion. Amnesty International campaigned for both of these survivors of torture.

    November 12, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada

    My heart is aching for an unforgettable mother and sister who shared their story with me during an Amnesty Canada delegation to Mexico.

    I can well imagine the wrenching emotions they are feeling at this time of such traumatic importance for their family.

    It was this week, six years ago - on November 10, to be precise - when the unimaginable happened. Their loved one, a young man named Héctor Rangel Ortiz started the day with laughter, teasing his mother over breakfast. Later he phoned from a business trip to say he'd been stopped by police in the city of Monclova. His family would never see him again.

    “How I wish it was all a nightmare, a bad dream from which I could wake up,” Héctor’s sister Brenda posted on Facebook. “It's so painful not to know ... There are no words to describe it. Wherever you are Héctor, we send you love, light and hope.”

    November 10, 2015

     The acquittal of a young woman who was tortured into confessing to the crime of extortion is long awaited good news but Mexico must ensure those responsible for the abuse she suffered face justice and that she receives reparation, said Amnesty International.

    “The fact that a young woman has been forced to spend two years in prison after being tortured to confess to a crime speaks volumes about the state of the Mexican judicial system,” said Erika-Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome Cristel’s acquittal, justice will not be done until those who sexually tortured her into confessing to a crime are put behind bars and a strong message is sent that torture is never acceptable.”
     
    Cristel Fabiola Piña Jasso, a 25-year old mother of two, was today acquitted by a court in Chihuahua, northern Mexico after spending two years in prison. The judge found there was not sufficient evidence against her and ordered a federal investigation into the torture she suffered.

    November 05, 2015

    “I will carry on searching for my brother even if it costs me my life.”

    These are the agonizing words of Brenda Rangel Ortiz, seen at right in a happier moment with her brother Héctor. He was on a business trip on November 10, 2009 when he phoned to say he had been stopped by municipal police in the town of Monclova. He was never seen again.

    Brenda and her family have knocked on countless doors, in their efforts to find Héctor. It's a dangerous undertaking.

    “We’ve received death threats warning us not to look for Hector, not to investigate what happened,” reports Brenda. “But we will not give up.”

    Brenda’s quest is fuelled by both love and anguish. “I don’t know where he is, if he is still alive, if he is being tortured,” she says.

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    October 23, 2015

    Released  23 October 2015, 00:01Hs Mexico (05:01 GMT)

    Mexico’s torture epidemic has reached new catastrophic levels with reports of asphyxiation, rape and other sexual abuse, electric shocks and beatings at the federal level more than doubling in the last year, said Amnesty International in a new report today as President Peña Nieto prepares to present a new Torture Bill to Congress.

    “A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine how Mexico’s torture crisis could have gotten any worse and then it just did while the government continues to turn a blind eye to a crisis of their own creation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The number of torture complaints filed at the federal level more than doubled between 2013 and 2014 – from 1,165 to 2,403, according to data from Mexico’s Federal Attorney General´s Office.

    The Federal Attorney General´s Office told Amnesty International that they have “no hard data” on any  charges issued in 2014 against those responsible.

    October 12, 2015

    In support of Amnesty International’s campaign against disappearances in Mexico, world-renowned singer and songwriter Sting met with relatives of some of the thousands who have gone missing in the country in recent years.

    “It is not hard to imagine the anguish and torment that families undergo when a loved one disappears, vanishes without trace or explanation, when attempts to find them or discover their fate are frustrated by the apparent indifference of the authorities to a situation that has become an epidemic in Mexico,” said Sting.

    “I met with some of the families, but they are just the tip of the iceberg, I call on the Mexican government to follow up on these cases far more vigorously, to find and prosecute those responsible and to prevent through legislation this scourge of disappearances and human rights abuses.”

    October 06, 2015

    By HyunGu Kang, Amnesty International Canada Youth Leader

    On a sunny Sunday in late September, Amnesty Toronto’s Youth Leadership Council hosted our first public event in Toronto’s popular Kensington Market.

    On the one hand, we were terrified. This was the first time we’d be representing Amnesty to non-members, and we were eager to do a good job. On the other, we were resolved.

    It was one year since 43 students “disappeared” after being taken away by police in Mexico – one year in which authorities did far too little to find the missing students and seemed intent, instead, on a shameful cover-up. We knew this was unacceptable, and we wanted the public to know it, too.

    September 23, 2015

    Released 23 September 2015 at 00:01HS Mexico Time (05:00am GMT)

    The Mexican authorities’ reckless handling of the investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teaching school in Iguala, Guerrero a year ago today, exposes a scandalous cover-up orchestrated by the highest levels of government, said Amnesty International.
     

    Urge Mexico to find them and halt an epidemic of torture and disappearances 

    September 23, 2015

    Released 23 September 2015 at 00:01 Mexico time (05:00 GMT)

    Omar García – Second-year student at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos “Ayotzinapa”, in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.

    On the night of Friday 26 September 2014, 24-year-old Omar García was writing a paper when he received a desperate call from one of his friends who was in a bus in the nearby town of Iguala.  

    His friend told him police officers were indiscriminately shooting at a group of students who were crossing the town on their way to a demonstration in Mexico City to mark the anniversary of the 2 October 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of unarmed students.

    “I was shocked and alarmed. I ran out of my room calling my friends. ‘Our friends are being shot at in Iguala, we have to go!’ I shouted. Everybody was upset,” he said.

    “Around 30 of us went to Iguala. When we arrived we started visiting hospitals, the courts, the prison. We asked people everywhere if they had seen our friends. But everybody said they had not seen them.

    September 22, 2015
    43 – Students arrested and forcibly disappeared by police on 26 September 2014

    6 – People extrajudicially executed on the night of 26 September 2014 (three students and three by-standers).

    25 - People injured.

    42 – Students whose whereabouts are still unknown.

    1 – Student, 19-year-old Alexander Mora Venancio, was confirmed dead on 6 December 2014 after a DNA testing by experts from the University of Innsbruck who established that DNA taken from a piece of burned bone allegedly found in a river matched that of the student’s family.

    September 06, 2015

    A new report by a group of experts from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on the investigation of the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico, uncovers the authorities’ utter incompetence and lack of will to find the students and bring those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.

    “The revelation by the group of experts of the inconsistencies in the official theory that the students were incinerated in a dumpster highlights the need to urgently redirect investigations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Mexico is going through one of the worst human rights crisis of the last decades. The catalogue of failures in the search and investigation over the disappearance of the 43 students that the experts have reported is a massive stain on the Mexican government’s reputation, which they can only begin to reverse if they find those responsible.”

    September 02, 2015

    The gruesome discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of at least 31 individuals in northern Mexico highlights the urgent need for robust action to tackle the country’s rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis, said Amnesty International.

    “Mexico is miserably losing the battle against disappearances, with nearly 25,000 people going missing since 2007. This latest discovery must be a wake-up call for authorities in Mexico to take real action to stop what seems to be an endless list of horrors taking place across the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “As a first step, Mexican authorities must ensure that, unlike too many times in the past, forensic investigations into this shocking discovery are conducted in a way that protects all evidence and leads to the identification of the remains and to justice for the relatives of the victims.”

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