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News > Latin America

Abuse, Coercion, Isolation: Inside Mexico's Judicial System

  • A police agent keeps watch atop a truck at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Reynosa.

    A police agent keeps watch atop a truck at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Reynosa. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 23 October 2018

Allegations of misconduct during the Calderon regime shows no-signs of slowing down in present-day Mexico.

In Mexico, torture is a tool commonly used "to obtain confessions," reads a report released by the World Justice Project (WJP), an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide.

Mexico Confirms Number of Disappeared at 37,485

Mexico is living in an era of crisis and insecurity that started during the beginning of its "war against drug trafficking," which, as their name suggests, is a form of military action of the country in their fight against drugs.

The report by WJP is based on data by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) on the National Survey of the Population Private of Liberty (ENPOL).

The report by WJP explains the transformation of the Judiciary System in Mexico, in 2008, into the New Criminal Justice System (NCJS) which was fully implemented in 2016. Two years later it is still a weak system, according to the data revealed by the report.

In the report: "Mexico’s New Criminal Justice System: Substantial Progress and Persistent Challenges," WJP argues that the majority of the detainees in Mexico suffered from physical or psychological torture at some point during their detention, and that the security forces and the judiciary utilized "coercive tactics to obtain confessions," in approximately one-third of the cases.

"In the old system, 63 percent of inmates reported being physically abused during that time frame. Under the NCJS, that number has decreased only slightly to 59 percent," reads the report by WJP.

However other kinds of abuse were also reported in the NCJS. For example, 52 percent of the inmates were left incommunicado with their families or their attorneys; 44 percent of the inmates were undressed; and several cases of rape by security forces were also reported.

The report by WJP also reads that the "ENPOL data shows that 40% of people arrested sit in jail for more than 48 hours before being arraigned and formally charged."

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