Mexico judge clears woman tortured into false charges

A Mexico judge has cleared a woman tortured into false charges. Photo: AFP
A Mexico judge has cleared a woman tortured into false charges. Photo: AFP

A Mexican judge has exonerated a woman who was forced to falsely confess to organized crime charges by troops who tortured and sexually abused her, human rights groups said Tuesday.

Claudia Medina, a 43-year-old housewife, was cleared of the charges on Friday, two years after marines broke into her home and arbitrarily arrested her in eastern Veracruz state, said Amnesty International.

After she was detained, she was blindfolded and taken to a naval base, where she was tortured with electric shocks, beaten while wrapped in plastic to avoid marks, sexually assaulted and left tied to a chair under the scorching sun, Amnesty said.

Medina was then pressured into signing a false statement without reading it.

She was presented to the media 36 hours later with other criminals accused of being in a stolen car with drugs and weapons. She was held in jail for 23 days before getting out on bail pending trial.

Medina, who spoke at a news conference with Amnesty and a local human rights group, said she would not rest "until those guilty (of torturing her) are punished."

A navy spokesman said he could not immediately comment on the judge's ruling.

In a report last year, Amnesty said reports of torture and ill-treatment by police and military forces soared 600 percent in a decade, from 219 in 2003 to 1,505 in 2013.

The surge coincided with a militarized offensive against drug cartels by then-president Felipe Calderon in 2006.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has faced his own human rights scandals since taking office in December 2012.

Army soldiers have been accused of executing at least eight of 22 gang suspects who were killed in June last year in central Mexico.

Pena Nieto has faced a wave of protests over the disappearance of 43 college students, who authorities say were abducted by corrupt municipal police and handed to a drug gang, which killed the young men.

News break – February 11