Torture Has Been Institutionalized In Chiapas as a Method of Control: Frayba
** The NGO reports that the torments are implemented by ministerial police and police from the PGJE
By: Hermann Bellinghausen
A clear result at the end of the six-year presidential term in Mexico, and particularly in Chiapas, is that torture is the preferred mechanism of police investigation and control utilized by state agents, despite the fact that effective regulations exist at the state, national and international level to prevent and punish it, maintains the broad report De la crueldad al cinismo, (From Cruelty to Cynicism) by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), which demonstrates that torture is a generalized practice legitimized by Chiapas authorities.
“Their inefficiency in eradicating it is clear,” maintains the document of around 100 pages. Between January 2010 and December 2011 alone the organisation documented 47 cases of torture in Chiapas, eight women and 39 men, who Frayba considers “survivors of this crime against humanity.” The La Jornada reader may also remember that dozens of indigenous prisoners in the state who have struggled for their freedom during these six years, both those who have attained their freedom and those still in prison, were tortured, on occasion for political motives.
The report identifies the federal, state and municipal police, officials of the Public Ministry, soldiers on duty, and judicial and prison authorities as routine practitioners of torture, with an obvious method. In certain cases, civilians from “officialist” (pro-government) organizations, some characterized as paramilitary, also participate.
In Chiapas, “the acts of torture, cruel treatment or punishment, inhuman or degrading, have become a ‘normal’ practice, accepted by the authorities for the procuring and administration of justice, and tolerated by the state’s Executive.” This means that “the majority of the denunciations presented to the Public Minister do not go forward or encounter obstruction to their inclusion,” and therefore remain unpunished. This conclusion is based on documentary information in the possession of Frayba, checked against the information provided by the same state government which in 2010 listed 11 cases of “alleged torture,” out of which, of those responsible, only one was assigned to a judge, and [only] two of the five officials detained were accused. For June 2011, the government only had one case under investigation.
From Cruelty to Cynicism: Report on torture in Chiapas (Jovel, June 2012) describes in detail “the patterns of torture carried out by officials and public servants of the Juan José Sabines Guerrero government, as well as the psychological and medical effects that they cause.” The cases documented in the two previous years are included, “as well as a schematic analysis of the methods and patterns of action by the perpetrators.”
The experiences of 47 victims in 15 municipalities are described and analyzed. The 15 municipalities are: Acala, Bella Vista, Comitán, Chilón, Huixtla, El Porvenir, Motozintla, Ocosingo, Palenque, Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacán, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Tapachula, Tonalá, Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Villaflores. The situation is the same for indigenous as for mestizos. The majority of the cases “are produced in activities related to the procurement of justice and the implementation of a public security policy within the context of the war declared on organized crime by President Felipe Calderón.”
The cases known by Frayba indicate that this act “persists above all” among members of the Ministerial Police assigned to the State’s Attorney General of Justice (PGJE), in order to obtain information or a signed confession. Due to these facts “the State is responsible for direct action and for omission, since once the torture is perpetrated it does not intervene to punish the guilty parties,” thus ensuring impunity and legitimizing this violation of human rights.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, June 29, 2012
English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the International Zapatista Translation Service