Another month and another former governor accused of corruption declares a hunger strike.
Last month it was Javier Duarte Ochoa from Veracruz. Now it’s Roberto Borge Angulo, the ex-governor of Quintana Roo.
Attorney Arturo González Baso told the newspaper Noticaribe that his client went on strike in protest against “subhuman conditions and violation of his rights” by the Panama National Police.
The former governor is currently awaiting the resolution of an extradition request filed by Mexican authorities after his arrest in Panama City in April.
“I’ve got to tell you that Roberto Borge is the object of harsh and humiliating treatment that is an affront to human rights, with the sole goal of breaking his will and forcing him to renounce his rights, allowing for a streamlined [extradition] process,” said González.
three days after being transferred from one detention facility to another, Borge opted to forego his meals
After Borge’s transfer last week from one jail to another after a court deemed him a flight risk, his lawyer said he had become the “victim of psychological torture.” According to González, his client is being held in solitary confinement, has his wrists and ankles cuffed at all times and can only receive one 45-minute visit per day.
Lights in the cell are on “day and night,” he continued, and when Borge meets with his defense team the conversation is recorded by surveillance cameras “in violation of lawyer-client confidentiality.”
The lawyers have filed a legal complaint asking that authorities check the conditions in which their client is being held.
Back on Borge’s turf, the president of the Cancún bar association declared that the hunger strike was merely an attempt at blackmail, and that everybody knows about the former governor’s “perversity.”
Luis Armando Ezequiel Orozco believes that even if Borge has one more opportunity to appeal his extradition, he should be in Mexico “in about 30 days.”
Borge’s imprisonment in a Mexican jail is not as important as the retrieval of the public monies he allegedly stole, he continued, remarking that justice in Mexico has so far fallen short in that regard.
The lawyer said that only three of the 87 public officials currently facing corruption accusations have been imprisoned, despite the federal government’s promises that all would go to jail.
Today, said Ezequiel, many of those officials are now serving in municipal administrations.
“It is not enough,” he said of the extradition and imprisonment of Borge. “What use is it to the public to have them in jail if what was stolen is not recovered?”
The lawyer cited the example of Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, the former leader of the SNTE teachers’ union, who is serving time in hospital, “cared for 24/7 and with a cook.” But authorities have not seized the 30 billion pesos she allegedly stole from the union. “Her assets are untouched, as is her art collection, worth millions.”