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UNITED MEXICAN STATES:
TORTURE SURVIVOR’S WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN

Update info:
25 Aug 2015
Country:
UNITED MEXICAN STATES
Subject:
Artemio Duarte Martínez
Gender: m
Period:
28 Sep 2015
Distribution date:
25 Aug 2015
UA No:
182/2015

Artemio Duarte Martínez, one of 25 police officers tortured in Tijuana in 2009, has gone missing after receiving harassment and threats for denouncing the torture he suffered. The authorities must immediately establish his whereabouts and protect his family, his lawyers and all other victims of the same case.

Lawyers for Artemio Duarte Martínez, a torture survivor from Tijuana, Baja California state in northern Mexico, told Amnesty International that he has been missing since 11 August. Artemio Duarte Martínez has reported receiving numerous threats since denouncing the torture he suffered alongside 24 fellow police officers in 2009. Amnesty International believes that local authorities have failed to launch a serious investigation to determine his whereabouts.

Between 21-27 March 2009, 25 municipal police officers in Tijuana, including Artemio Duarte Martínez, were arbitrarily detained at the military base of the 28th Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Military Zone in Tijuana. After three days, a federal judge issued an arraigo (pre-charge detention) order for the men to be held on the military base on suspicion of involvement with organized crime. They were held for 41 days without access to a judge, a lawyer of their choice or adequate medical attention. During that time they were reportedly tortured and ill-treated in order to extract confessions implicating each other.

Since then, the group of 25 police officers has fought for justice, including for their reinstatement as members of the Municipal Police, and the prosecution of those responsible for their torture. The survivors and their lawyers have reported being harassed for these actions. One of the survivors reported to the authorities that in June 2015 he was directly threatened by current Tijuana police officers, who pressured him to withdraw their complaints. The National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) subsequently issued precautionary measures (medidas cautelares) on 12 June for the protection of all of the victims in this case, as well as their lawyers.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Torture is widespread in Mexico. Police and military officers often use it in the context of public security operations in order to extract “confessions” or “information” from criminal suspects or from people who are simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Officers also use torture to instil fear on detainees so that they are less likely to come forward and report the abuses they suffer.

Torture is frequently condoned, tolerated or ignored by other law enforcement officials, superior officers, prosecutors, judges and some human rights commissions. The result is almost total impunity for abusers and constant risk for everyone else. Only seven torturers have been convicted, at the federal level, since torture became a crime in 1991. Prosecutors and judges are known to use evidence obtained under torture to prosecute and convict victims.

In May 2014 Amnesty International launched “Stop Torture”, a global campaign against torture and ill-treatment: www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture. Amnesty International’s report on the situation of torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico can be accessed here: www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr41/020/2014/en/.

In Mexico, abductions and enforced disappearances continued to occur widely. The whereabouts of most victims remained undisclosed. The government acknowledged some 25,000 missing persons. Impunity remained the norm for cases of enforced disappearance. It is unknown how many of those people have been victims of enforced disappearances in which public officials are directly or indirectly involved. In 2013 the Federal Attorney General’s Office set up a specialized unit to investigate cases of abductions and disappearances and establish the whereabouts of victims. To date, they have not released any detailed information regarding its effectiveness.

UA: 182/15 Index: AMR 41/2293/2015 Issue Date: 17 August 2015

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to launch an immediate search for Artemio Duarte Martínez and establish his whereabouts;
  • Urging them to carry out an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into this incident and bring anyone found responsible to justice;
  • Urging them to take all necessary measures to protect his family, and the other torture survivors in this case.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 28 SEPTEMBER 2015 TO:
Minister of the Interior
Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, Col. Juárez
Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F.
C.P. 06600, México
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414
Email: secretario@segob.gob.mx
Twitter: @osoriochong
Salutation: Dear Minister / Sr. Secretario

Governor of Baja California State
Lic. Francisco Arturo Vega de Lamadrid
Gobierno del Estado de Baja California
Edificio del Poder Ejecutivo
Calzada Independencia No. 994
3er Piso, Centro Cívico
Mexicali, Baja California
C.P. 21000, México
Email: gobernador@baja.gob.mx
Twitter: @KIKOVEGA_
Salutation: Dear Governor /Sr. Gobernador

And copies to:
Amnistía Internacional - México
Luz Saviñon 519
Col. Del Valle, Del. Juárez
México, D.F.
C.P. 03100, México
Email: au@amnistia.org.mx

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.