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Report: Women Prisoners Tortured in Mexico


Madeleine Penman, left, Mexico investigator for Amnesty International; Erika Guevara-Rosas, center, Americas Director for Amnesty; center, and Byron Arellano, son of a torture survivor, pose together following a press conference presenting an Amnesty report on female survivors of sexual torture by Mexican authorities, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Madeleine Penman, left, Mexico investigator for Amnesty International; Erika Guevara-Rosas, center, Americas Director for Amnesty; center, and Byron Arellano, son of a torture survivor, pose together following a press conference presenting an Amnesty report on female survivors of sexual torture by Mexican authorities, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Five years ago, police stopped Veronica Razo on a street in Mexico City and took her to federal prison.

She was beaten, tortured with electrical shocks and raped. Today, she is still awaiting the finish of her trial.

She is one of a large number of women who were tortured after their arrest, according to a report by Amnesty International.

The rights group said its report is based on meetings with or statements from 100 women who were jailed in Mexico. All of them reported torture or other abusive treatment, it said. Thirty-three reported being raped while in detention.

Erika Guevara-Rosas is a human rights lawyer and Amnesty International’s Americas Director. She said the jailed women are victims of what she calls Mexico’s “so-called war on drugs.”

“They are usually seen as easy targets by authorities who are often more eager to show they are putting people behind bars than to ensure they are finding the real criminals,” she added.

Guevara-Rosas said that, in Mexico, “sexual violence” has become a routine part of how police question criminal suspects.

Veronica Razo was charged with being part of a kidnapping ring. Amnesty International asked why it has taken so long for a court to decide her case.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto traveled to Canada this week for talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama. The Mexican leader said his government is making progress on human rights.

“Our government has made an important effort to advance issues related to human rights,” he said. “We still have work to do. However, I think we are moving in the right direction towards having human rights being fully respected.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on the talks. It said Philippe Couillard, premier of Quebec Province, expressed concerns about human rights during a meeting with Pena Nieto on Monday.

Couillard said that Mexico is “moving in the right direction.”

When Razo was arrested, her daughter was seven and her son was 13, according to Amnesty International. They are now 13 and 18. Amnesty says the son is unable to go to college because of all the money it has cost to pay lawyers defending his mother.

Amnesty International provides other examples of women it says were abused after their arrest.

It said that Tailyn Wang was seven months pregnant when federal police officers broke into her house in 2014. The police took her to a police station.

After being beaten and sexually abused by the police, she miscarried, Amnesty International said. The fetus was not yet viable and died.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

VOANews.com reported on this story. Bruce Alpert adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

authorities n. people who have power to make decisions and enforce rules and laws

eageradj. very excited to do something

ensurev. to make something sure, certain, or safe

routine –​ adj. done very often​

ringn. a group of criminals who plan and carry out crimes together

advancev. to move forward

viableadj. capable of living or of developing into a living thing

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