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Mexico rights agency files torture complaint against police

July 24, 2019

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s governmental Human Rights Commission said Wednesday it has filed criminal complaints against 119 police officers, prosecution agents and other officials for allegedly torturing or abusing suspects in the case of 43 missing students from a teachers’ college.

Police seized the students in the Guerrero state city of Iguala in 2014 and allegedly handed them over to a drug gang. Prosecutors say the gang then killed the students and their bodies were burned and tossed into a river.

Human rights groups say that the government’s case is built largely on questionable confessions extracted from suspects using torture and that prosecutors, police and military personnel denied them their rights. In recent weeks, a video surfaced showing one suspect having his head covered with a plastic bag while under questioning.

Besides the 119 agents charged with torture, the commission said Wednesday that criminal complaints were filed against 116 investigators, police or agents alleging they conducted faulty investigations.

In the past, the commission has said suspects were illegally held and not allowed to see lawyers, evidence was improperly registered or not registered, and investigators exceeded their authority.

Prosecutors will decide whether to file any criminal charges in the case. The commission also asked internal affairs units to file disciplinary actions in many of the cases.

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