Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican torture trial in plastic bag choking case

A still from a video shows a woman with a plastic bag over her head Image copyright AP
Image caption Officials said the video was genuine and had been taken in February 2015

Three Mexican federal police officers and two soldiers have been ordered to stand trial on charges of torture.

The five are accused of torturing a woman who was detained in the southern state of Guerrero last year.

The case gained notoriety when a video showing the officers putting a plastic bag over the woman's head and pointing a rifle at her head was published on social media earlier this month.

In a separate case, an army general has been sentenced to 52 years for torture.

The unnamed general had ordered that a suspect held in Chihuahua state in July 2008 be tied up and receive electric shocks, according to the Federal Judicial Council.

After the interrogation, concerning a soldier's death, the suspect died.

Pressure groups say Mexican security forces "routinely" use torture.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Defence Secretary Gen Salvador Cienfuegos apologised for the conduct of the security officials

Officials from Mexico's security ministry said the video of the torture in Guerrero state was genuine and showed an incident in the town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso on 4 February 2015.

It shows a female soldier placing a plastic bag over a handcuffed female suspect's head and holding it tight to cut off the suspect's air supply.

A female police officers can be seen pointing a rifle at her head.

"Are you going to talk?" the soldier asks the suspect. "Have you remembered yet? Answer me, who is Maria?"

As the suspect almost loses consciousness, the soldier can be heard calling her "an old drama queen".

The security ministry said it had become aware of the case in December and that the officers in question had been arrested in January.

Human rights groups have long denounced what they say is a "routine" use of torture by the Mexican security forces.

A 2014 Amnesty International report said that complaints about the use of torture had increased by 600% in the 10 years to 2013.

According to the report, 64% of Mexicans are afraid of being tortured if taken into custody.

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