National: Senate Approves Law against Torture

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On April 25th, the Senate unanimously approved the Law against Torture initiatve and sent the document to the Federal Executive for its promulgation. This legislation was under discussion for almost a year in the Chamber of Deputies, while “from December 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2014, the National Human Rights Commission received 104 complaints and issued 79 recommendations on the subject of torture. This is compounded by the 4,440 complaints filed before the agency by the commission on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the same period, of which, 1,000 correspond to cases related to the Army and Navy. According to figures obtained by the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, the Attorney General’s Office received 4,555 complaints of torture, and reported that only 1,884 cases are under investigation. Of these, only 11 were recorded, and only five sentences for this crime are known in the period referred to.”

This general law is intended to enable the prevention, investigation and punishment of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In the case of committing the crime of torture, in order to “obtain information or confession, for purposes of criminal investigation, as an intimidating means, as personal punishment or as a means of coercion, causing pain or suffering to another person”, a penalty of ten to 20 years imprisonment, as well as 500 to 1,000 days of a minimum wage penalty, for the public servant who incurs such a crime. When the victim of torture is a child, girl or teenager, the sentence will be increased to 30 years in prison. The same shall apply if a pregnant woman, a person with a disability, or an older adult is subjected to any form of sexual violence, if the person has the status of migrant, Afro-descendant or belongs to an indigenous community.

The law also proposes “to apply the same sanctions to hierarchical superiors, accomplices and collaborators in acts of torture and as a temporary measure the removal of public officials appointed or investigated for this crime is foreseen, with the aim of not obstructing the investigation against him.”

The Mexico Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights celebrated the approved law given that it completely forbids torture, “punishes the behavior throughout the country under the same definition in accordance with international treaties, excludes evidence obtained through torture and other violations of human rights and establishes clear rules to combat impunity. It also considered that another step forward in the legislation is that it “distributes powers among the three levels of government, creates a national registry of cases of torture and includes measures for the assistance, care and reparation of victims.”

For its part, Amnesty International said it represents a step forward in addressing the human rights crisis prevailing in the country, but that “unless the Mexican authorities make a real effort to guarantee the trial of all those responsible for the thousands of cases of torture reported every year throughout the country, this law will be nothing more than words on paper. We should not allow this to continue.”

 For more information in Spanish:

Por unanimidad, aprueba el Senado Ley contra la Tortura (La Jornada, a 27 de abril de 2017)

Aprueba Senado ley contra tortura: penas de hasta 30 años (Aristegui Noticias, a 26 de abril de 2017)

Senado aprueba por unanimidad ley para prevenir, investigar y sancionar la tortura (Proceso, 26 de abril de 2017)

Y ONU-DH urge a Peña Nieto promulgarla (Proceso, 26 de abril de 2017)

‘Un paso adelante’, nueva ley contra la tortura en México: AI (MVS, 26 de abril de 2017)

La ONU-DH felicita al Congreso de la Unión por la aprobación de la ley general de tortura (La Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos (ONU-DH), a 26 de abril de 2017)

Sociedad civil insta al Senado a aprobar Ley General contra la Tortura esta semana (Tlachinollan, a 24 de abril de 2017)

Ley general contra la tortura (La Jornada, a 6 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: Dudas de organismos de la sociedad civil por la iniciativa de Ley contra la Tortura (9 de febrero de 2016)

Nacional: Organizaciones sociales se pronuncian sobre ley de tortura (31 de mayo de 2016)

Nacional/Internacional : « la tortura y los malos tratos siguen siendo generalizados en México» Juan E. Mendez (7 de marzo de 2017)

 

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