Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico drug lord Joaquin Guzman 'fears for his sanity'

This file photo taken on January 27, 2016 shows a video grab by Mexican General Attorney office, showing Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in Altiplano maximum security federal prison in Almoloya de Juarez, State of Mexico. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Joaquin Guzman is under 24-hour surveillance

Jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman "fears he could lose his mind" before the end of the year, his partner Emma Coronel says.

He is watched constantly by three masked guards, even when he uses the toilet, his partner says.

Ms Coronel complained to the National Human Rights Commission about Guzman's living conditions.

The leader of the Sinaloa drugs cartel is notorious for escaping from two maximum security jails.

His first escape came in 2001, from the Puente Grande maximum security prison, reportedly hidden in a laundry basket.

He used his 13 years at large to consolidate his criminal empire before being re-arrested in Sinaloa state.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Guzman's most recent escape was through a tunnel in his prison cell

But in July 2015, after less than two years at the Altiplano prison in central Mexico, he fled again, this time through a 1.5km-long (one mile-long) tunnel.

This time, he was on the run for six months before he was caught in Los Mochis in Sinaloa state.

He was first taken back to the Altiplano jail but was transferred to a prison in Ciudad Juarez in May.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Guzman was moved to a prison near the US border in northern Chihuahua state in May

"He hasn't been informed about any activities he could do in the jail, nor has anyone devised a plan of activities to match his needs, preferences and skills," Ms Coronel's complaint reads.

His lawyer, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, stressed that Guzman did not expect special treatment.

"Joaquin Guzman does not want a five-star hotel, he doesn't want a spa, he just wants to be treated like a human being," he said.

Guzman's 2015 escape was a huge embarrassment for the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

After his re-arrest, the Mexican government said it would extradite Guzman to the US, where he is wanted on drug trafficking charges.

A Mexican judge last week rejected Guzman's appeal against his extradition. Mexican officials say they expect to send him to the US by February.

More on this story