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Torture and arbitrary detentions seem to be common part of police operatives

By Twenty Twenty

Arbitrary detentions or with violence, and also torture, seem to be part of the current ways for Yucatecan police to face crime and serve to people security, according to information from human rights defenders.

Organizations as Indignacion, Elementa DDHH and Amnesty International informed that from January 2019 to November 2020, there were 22 people reported who died under police custody.

Some of those reports where filed as suicides and not investigated to confirm what happened.

From 2006 to 2019 authorities received 549 complaints and 648 investigations of alleged torture and violence against people in police detention.

Arbitrary detentions, torture and deaths under police custody seem to be more connected than they look, and could be part of a general misconduct among Yucatecan authorities.

Since 2003, the Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar la Tortura del Estado de Yucatán has been in force, but the actions to accomplish it have been null, specially because it is the state police authorities who are involved in these events.

Martha Capetillo, legal representative and lawyer of Indignation assured that the arbitrary detentions, torture and deaths while police custody are systematic in Yucatan.

 “The cover-up mechanisms and complicity among authorities, that involve superior officers and the state governor himself, who try to minimize the events or distort them, it’s actually a fact”.

In its report Derechos Humanos en Contexto: aproximaciones para el fortalecimiento de la sociedad civil, Elementa DDHH states that the lack of official information about the torture phenomena in Yucatan, is such, that the few registers and informs have in common as a source of information the organization Indignacion.

According to the investigations, a lot of the torture cases have as background detentions without a warrant, with violence and other practices like the incommunicado.    

The reported cases and those published in the media exhibit that the torture practice is extended and persistent and that the responsible people are generally state and municipal police officers.

2020 closed with 11 deaths of people under police custody, and in the firsts days of January, two more cases.

Despite numbers exposed, trials have so far been opened in only two cases, against police agents from Tekax municipality – south of Merida – and state police, in July 2016 and November 2020, respectively.

 “In general in the state, human rights crisis is very serious because, whether the detention is arbitrary or not, abuse, cruelty, humiliations and standardized harassment keeps occurring systematically”.

The lawyer from Indignacion explains that “there’s no action on the part of the authorities to face this problem and eradicate it, that’s why we’re talking about a human right crisis”.

Codhey actions, says the activist Martha Capetillo, are not enough and fail to guarantee respect for human rights.

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