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Soldier holds a gun to the head of torture victim. Soldier holds a gun to the head of torture victim.

Video offers evidence of torture by officials

Two soldiers and a police officer implicated in torturing young woman

On the day the United States government issued a critical assessment of Mexico’s human rights record, a video surfaced on social media to provide further evidence of abuse by authorities.

In its annual human rights report on various nations around the world, the U.S. State Department said yesterday the most significant problems in Mexico included police and military involvement in serious abuses, such as unlawful killings, torture, and disappearances.

It was evidence of torture that came out yesterday: a graphic video of a young woman being tortured by two military personnel and a Federal Police officer.

The four-minute video shows a female soldier questioning the woman, seated on the ground and crying throughout. Twice a plastic bag is placed over her head and wrapped tight.

At one point the soldier briefly holds a gun to the woman’s head.

When the interrogator doesn’t get the answer she wants she asks the woman if she wants the plastic bag again, adding, “Or do you want the water, or do you want the shocks,” implying water torture or electric shock treatment.

The incident was reported to have occurred in Ajuchitlán, Guerrero, in February last year.

Another issue in the State Department report was that impunity for human rights abuses remained a problem throughout Mexico, with extremely low rates of prosecution for all forms of crime.

That, too, has come out in connection with the torture of the young woman. The federal Attorney General said today it began investigating the case three months ago but none of the three perpetrators has been remanded for their possible involvement.

The Army, meanwhile, said it became aware in December of what took place in Ajuchitlán and began an investigation. In January, a soldier and a captain with the military police were taken into custody, and are currently being held in a military prison.

For its part, the Federal Police will provide support to the Attorney General in investigating the conduct of one of its officers, the National Security Commission said. The Internal Affairs Unit began an investigation as a result of the video, which it described as showing uniformed personnel “mistreating” a woman.

In Washington yesterday, the undersecretary of multilateral affairs and human rights in the Foreign Affairs Secretariat conceded there are human rights challenges facing Mexico. “We have never denied that Mexico faces threats and challenges in terms of human rights,” Miguel Ruiz Cabañas told reporters.

He said “a great effort” is under way on the part of the federal government to attend to all the challenges that Mexico faces.

Source: Animal Político (sp), Reforma (sp), Milenio (sp)

WARNING: graphic content

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