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Human rights team concerned by torture allegations in Mexico

May 11, 2015

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A team of outside experts investigating Mexico’s handling of the disappearance of 43 students said Monday some of those arrested in relation to the case have said they were tortured, which could affect the outcome if true.

The team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also said on its third visit to Mexico that it was concerned that there were currently 13 different criminal proceedings spread across six courts in different locations. It suggested the cases be combined before a single judge.

Spaniard Carlos Beristain said in a news conference that the team had interviewed 16 of the more than 100 people detained following the disappearance of the students from the Rural Normal School at Ayotzinapa on Sept. 26. The majority said they were mistreated and tortured, he said.

“Exhaustive analysis of these complaints is fundamental to avoid that they generate problems later,” Beristain said. If it turns out that authorities did not respect the prisoners’ rights, “it would be very negative for the process and would have legal consequences.”

The team was formed to analyze the government’s investigation and provide recommendations that could clarify what happened to the students.

The attorney general’s office concluded in January that the students were turned over by local police from the city of Iguala to the gang Guerreros Unidos. The gang killed them and incinerated their remains in a garbage dump outside Cocula. The remains of only one student have been positively identified.

The students’ parents and their advocates do not believe the government’s version and maintain that it is based upon the statements of criminals.

The five-member team has a six-month mission, which will conclude at the end of August.

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