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Police 'torture' videos in Mexico cause worry

July 2, 2008 | 11:21 am

Torture Videos that emerged in Mexico yesterday -- reported here on La Plaza --  that apparently show policemen in the city of León practicing torture techniques on a fellow officer have created an uproar in Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

The country has struggled to eliminate torture in law enforcement.

Following the emergence of the tape, human rights investigators in Guanajuato state are looking into the matter and the National Human Rights Commission also expressed concern.

"It's very worrisome that there may be training courses that teach people to torture," said Raul Plascencia, a top commission inspector.

There are some things that don't seem to be worrying officials here. For example, where these videos came from and why they emerged now, just when Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the rival PRD party (León's mayor is from the PAN, President Calderon's party) is embroiled in political upheaval following the News Divine nightclub tragedy. And what about the authenticity of the tapes?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post rightly elaborates on a point we raised Tuesday, which is that Mexico's law enforcement branches are currently waiting to receive a cash injection from the United States as part of the Merida Initiative.

Around U.S. $200 million will go to Mexico's Armed Forces, according to this analysis by Laura Carlsen, director of the America's Policy Program. But will it be used to "retrain" them, as the Merida bill stipulates, or just put more money to bad use in the hands of corrupt officials?

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: A screen grab of the leaked videos, in which a policeman is shown being forced to roll in his own vomit.

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