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Prisoners in Mexico Suffer Unfair Convictions

Torture continues to play a key role in Mexico's criminal justice system. It is widely used by state agents and forms the basis of numerous unfair convictions. A new report documents several cases in which the defendants' right to a fair trial has been violated and the criminal justice system has failed to provide effective judicial remedy. The report documents the fact that people are still tortured by police into confessing to serious crimes, and how these confessions are then accepted as evidence in court against the most fundamental principles of justice. The federal government has acknowledged the continuing use of torture but effective action to end this practice is still unrealized and those caught up in this perverse justice system continue to suffer daily injustice.

One such case of injustice is that of brothers Enrique and Adrián Aranda Ochoa who were arrested in June 1996 and forced to sign a confession they were not allowed to read after several hours of torture at the hands of judicial police. They were told that if they acknowledge their confession before the judge their families would suffer. Despite medical evidence of torture, their confessions were used to convict and sentence them to 50 years' imprisonment. After six years later, an arrest warrant issued against one of the policemen involved in their torture has not been acted on. The brothers remain in prison awaiting the outcome of their final appeal.

AI INDEX: AMR 41/013/2003 25 March 2003

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