She suffered massive anal rape and electric shocks inside the vagina. The voice of Magdalena Saavedra is broken by verbalizing the torture she suffered at the hands of a group of sailors between May 10 and 11, 2013.
Its objective? Excuse her of being a financial operator of the Gulf Cartel.
The 52-year-old woman broke down when she was threatened that if she didn't sign what they put in front of her, the next one would be her daughter.
Magdalena was the victim of an alleged "investigation technique" that in Mexico is a pandemic: almost half of Mexican prisoners claim to have suffered torture.
To combat it, new legislation was enacted - more than two and a half years ago, on June 26, 2017 -. According to the then president, Enrique Peña Nieto , it had the "best international practices to combat it."
One of them was the creation - in a maximum of 90 days - of a special prosecutor's office with “full technical and operational autonomy” in each state, but 30 months later, only 10 of the 32 entities have complied with the law.
The case of Magdalena, based on recommendations and reports from the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), Amnesty International (AI) and the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Prodh), is a sample of what the United Nations (UN) reprimanded Mexico in May 2019: “[There is] a very high incidence of torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, in particular by members of the security forces and security agents. investigation, during arrest and early stages of detention.”
According to transparency requests, only Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, State of Mexico, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Zacatecas have created specialized prosecutors against that crime. In another 10 entities there are specialized units with hierarchical dependence and in the remaining 12 there are no such institutions.
“They treated me worse than animals. They put a bag on my head to suffocate me, three times, until I passed out. I woke up from the blows, from the kicks. They blindfolded me and took me to a place that was pure gravel. There began the strong torture, the electric touches. They undressed me completely, they sat me in a chair, opened my legs and put the device inside. It's something indescribable", she recalls.
“When they raped me anally, they told me that if I didn't sign some documents they gave me they were going to go with my daughter, they were going to do the same thing [to me] and they were going to kill her,” he says.
Magdalena signed and was accused in the crimes of collection of firearms, against health by selling cocaine, possession of cartridges for exclusive use and operations with resources of illicit origin.
After five years imprisoned, Magdalena obtained an acquittal in November 2018, which highlighted the implausibility of the evidence provided by the apprehensive elements. Since then, she has dissociation problems and cannot work.
Although she managed to put a complaint on her behalf before the Attorney General's Office (PGR) in October 2013, she says her case has progressed almost nothing in these six years: "Those evil people ... Those who did this to me. They should already be locked up. I should already have a damage payment. Knowing that these people are immune generates frustration and enormous courage, but I do not intend to take my finger off the line.
"If what I am doing serves so that a single woman does not have to go through what I went through, I am already well paid," he says.
The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines that torture is a crime that can only be committed by States and which entails causing a human being serious, physical or psychological damage, cruel treatment and inhuman in order to obtain information, that he pleads guilty to crimes he did not commit or as an element against dissidents or social fighters.
"In Mexico, much of the torture is committed by public ministries in prosecutors' offices," explains Natalia Pérez Cordero, Human Rights researcher at the Fundar organization, Centro de Investigación e Investigación, AC, who is also part of the observatory against that crime, Sintortura.org.
“The law marks the creation of specialized prosecutors for cases of torture. They have to be independent, so that the public ministries that investigate other public servants do not have vices or have any authority or superior that asks them to do something that goes against their investigation. ”
Pérez Cordero believes that the June 2017 law is correct, but that the problem is the lack of compliance and not only on the issue of specialized prosecutors: “The number of public ministries and experts is low, which makes it delay investigations. ”
According to his data, at the federal level and between 2019 and 2020, one million 250 thousand pesos were allocated to the subject, less than 5% of what is granted to the investigation of organized crime. For her, these budget deficiencies explain that between 2014 and 2018, 9,998 federal investigations for torture will be initiated, with only 33 sentences.
Another breach of the law has to do with the records of the crime of torture in the states , which should have certain data and provide a national registry that centralizes all this information.
For this, the law granted 90 days, but more than two years later, only three entities - Queretaro, Oaxaca and Coahuila - have complied.
Another 13 states have records, but they do not meet the specifications of the law. In 14, according to the available data, there is nothing.
Torture is a problem that in Mexico, according to official data, is widespread. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography ( Inegi ) - in its 2016 National Survey on Deprived Population of Liberty - figures that 58% of those arrested were held incommunicado; 52.5%, threatened with false charges; 46%, stripped and 40% was tied and bandaged from the head.
A third was pressured to report someone else and the same percentage was suffocated. If Mexico had 210,000 prisoners at that time, that percentage means 75,000 detainees who were suffocated. Both Magdalena and Adrián are within that count. Like her, Adrián had electric shocks on his genitals.
“In early 2000 I was arrested by ministerial police officers from Tlaxcala. They began to spin me around the colonies while they beat me. I did not know why. I heard their radios, which spoke in code, which responded to a commander. Everything told me they were cops. They hit me all the way until we reached a place that - now I know - was the state attorney's office and put me to a part that was in black work.
“They undressed me and bandaged me whole, except my mouth and nose. They started beating me, pouring mineral water on my nose, touching my testicles. I asked them to tell me what I had to say so they wouldn't do me more. I heard other screams. I didn't know it was my friends and family, who they had also taken. I finally signed a statement, ”he says.
He and his family were accused of two kidnappings , organized crime and health crimes with sales hypotheses. He was 15 years in jail until he came out for an amparo. One of the people who entered with him, elderly and diabetic, died in a prison because of the lack of care after a beating.
That case is accompanied by the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights ( Cmdpdh ). According to the organization, the victims were arrested and taken to the prosecutor's office, where they were forced, by means of torture, to be accused in events in which they did not participate, as well as to generate evidence linking them with kidnappings.
In the commission they told him that he should report. “I leave in 2016. And they take me to Tlaxcala. Do you know where I had to make the complaint? It's even funny. In the same area of the office where they had tortured me, ”he says with a sad smile. Adrian is, for security, a false name.
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