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False Suspicions: Arbitrary Detentions by Police Taint Mexico’s ’New’ Justice System

Amnesty International
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July 13, 2017
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The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

False Suspicions: Arbitrary Detentions By Police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.

“The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“Police seem to be detaining people for no reason other than to pretend action is being taken to tackle crime. This ultimately achieves nothing and puts everyone in the country in danger of human rights violations, including torture and other ill treatment.”

Arbitrary detentions can easily lead to other human rights violations such as torture, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions.

In June 2016, Mexico implemented a new Procedural Code across the country, which gave police more powers to conduct investigations. The Code was meant to expedite criminal investigations.

In practice, however, the law is not being properly implemented with many police officers not adequately trained and not respecting the basic premise of presumption of innocence - a fundamental human right.

In a shocking admission, one police officer told Amnesty International that he didn’t see why it was important to make detainees aware of their human rights. This echoes the attitude of a large number of law enforcement officials who brazenly and unapologetically violate the human rights of the people with whom they interact.

Members of the judiciary do not usually question the source of the evidence presented by the police, even though they know that in many cases police plant evidence to incriminate people, especially in crimes related to robberies, guns and drug trafficking.

Several members of the judiciary, the police and the Attorney Generals’ Office complained to Amnesty International about the lack of resources (including staff, vehicles, phones and forensic experts) to resolve crimes. Members of the judiciary admitted that they face pressure from their superiors, and even the executive, to rule in a certain way in high-level cases.

Read the rest at Amnesty International

Related: New Justice System Is ‘Procedural Hell’ Security Commissioner Criticizes System's Implementation, Calls for Adjustments (Mexico News Daily)

Related: Mexico Justice System: Preventative Prison Isn't the Solution to Increased Crime (Mexico Voices)

Related: Six Shortcomings of Mexico's New Justice System (InSight Crime)

Related: Systemic Corruption of the Government and Its Allies Triggers Attacks on New Anti-Corruption System (Mexico Voices)

Related: 65% Of Cops Fall Short in Performance Review (Mexico News Daily)

Related: New Mexican Anti-Corruption Law Enters into Force July 19, 2017 (Global Compliance News)

Photo: Amnesty International/Sergio Ortiz


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