Mexico: Raise your voice for Yecenia
Yecenia Armenta Graciano has spent almost three years in prison, while the men who brutally tortured her remain free.
Her nightmare began in 2012, while she was driving relatives to the Culiacán airport in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. Plain-clothed state policemen pulled her car over, forced her out, blindfolded her and drove her away. They subjected her to near asphyxiation with a plastic bag over her head, poured water over a cloth covering her mouth to simulate drowning, hung her upside down naked, and raped her. “I wanted them to just give me a bullet to the head so that it would all stop”, she says.
After almost 15 hours of torture, the police officers threatened to bring in Yecenia’s children to rape and kill them. It was at that moment that Yecenia succumbed to their demands to sign a confession to involvement in the murder of her husband, all while still blindfolded.
Months later, medical forensic staff from the Federal Attorney General’s Office examined Yecenia but concluded she had not been tortured because initial medical examinations, carried out by staff from the very same force which detained her, did not mention any signs of torture. In contrast, two independent expert examinations in line with international standards have confirmed that the medical and psychological evidence coincides with Yecenia’s testimony that she was tortured into confessing.
Meanwhile, Yecenia remains in jail. Her “confession” remains the key piece of evidence against her. Yecenia deserves to be free and to see her torturers brought to justice, as do so many other torture victims in Mexico.
Write a short, polite letter to the Attorney General of the State of Sinaloa. Start your letter by introducing yourself and where you are writing from, since Mexican officials are concerned about their country’s international image.
- Express concern about the torture by police officers that was used to force Yecenia Armenta Graciano to sign a confession that has been used to imprison her.
- Appeal for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the torture suffered by Yecenia Armenta Graciano, for the charges against her to be dropped and for her release.
- Urge that in future, any detainee alleging torture receives prompt and adequate examination by independent, impartial experts, in line with international human rights standards, such as the Istanbul Protocol, which Mexico has promised to uphold for many years.
Send your letter to:
Marco Antonio Higuera Gómez, Sinaloa State Attorney General
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado Sinaloa
Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Sinaloa
Blvd. Enrique Sánchez Alonso No. 1833
Desarrollo Plan Tres Ríos, C.P. 80030,
Culiacán, Estado de Sinaloa
Salutation: Dear Attorney General / Estimado Señor Procurador
Given Canada's close relationship with Mexico, send a copy of your letter with a cover note to:
Amnesty International has documented the persistent use of torture by police and soldiers in Mexico, especially in the context of the so-called “war on drugs”. Official forensic doctors often fail to adequately examine most torture survivors who file complaints. When medical forensic examinations are carried out, forensic doctors often reach unfounded conclusions which may deny torture and stop any further investigation.
In March 2015 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture recommended an overhaul in the implementation of medical forensic examinations of torture victims as a first step towards combatting torture and ending impunity in the country.
Proper medical examinations can be vital for helping torture survivors claim justice. If they are timely and up to international standards they can prove the torture and so help expose false ‘confessions’.