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Mexico Police Accused of Torture

December 7, 1999

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) _ The death of an alleged kidnapper who died after receiving 40 blows to the head, two broken ribs and a burst lung has unveiled a ``system of torture″ in the Jalisco state attorney general’s office, the State Commission for Human Rights claimed Monday.

Victor Castaneda Casas died in state facilities on Oct. 24 after being detained by investigative police agents for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an 18-year-old.

The attorney general’s area coordinator for kidnappings, Jose Gonzalez Jimenez, insisted Castaneda died during an exchange of blows with a police investigator while he was being detained and denied that he had been tortured.

But the president of the State Commission for Human Rights, Guadalupe Morfin Otero, said Monday that Castaneda was tortured by investigators both during and after his arrest, and that he died of injuries sustained during the torture.

``Corruption and impunity rule in the agencies responsible for administering and procuring justice,″ Morfin alleged.

The commission is asking for the punishment of six police officers and the prosecutor allegedly involved in the torture, as well as the doctor who indicated that the injuries Castaneda suffered were not life-threatening.

During the past six months, alleged kidnappers, human rights officials, local newspapers and some agents of the investigative police themselves have alleged that the state attorney general’s office routinely uses torture in its interrogations.

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