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.
“Like Cristel and Adrián, there are thousands of cases of people unfairly detained throughout the country and tortured into incriminating themselves. The release of these two victims shows us that it is time that Mexican authorities wake up to the reality experienced by so many other torture victims currently locked up throughout the country,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
Amnesty International has been campaigning on a number of cases of torture survivors all throughout the country. During December, it has launched an international letter-writing marathon – “Write for Rights” – in support of a number of cases all around the world. Among them is Yecenia Armenta Graciano, who was raped, asphyxiated and hung from her feet upside down by Sinaloa state police in northern Mexico in 2012 until she confessed to murder.
“The fact that judges in different states of the country can strike down shaky accusations based on torture shows us that there is some hope for justice in other cases. Yecenia Armenta shares with Adrián and Cristel the same story of suffering and injustice, and we call for authorities to allow all three torture victims to be home with their relatives by Christmas,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.
In May 2014 Amnesty International launched “Stop Torture”, a global campaign against torture and ill-treatment. Mexico is one of its countries of focus.