BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Mexican army 'torturing' soldiers
Mexican soldier on patrol
The military denies the torture allegations
A human rights group in Mexico says more than 600 soldiers have been detained at their barracks for the past 11 days and subjected to torture in an investigation into drug trafficking.

Soldiers from the 65th Infantry Battalion are being held in facilities in the city of Guamuchil in Sinaloa State, more than 1,000 kilometres (700 miles) from Mexico City, according to the non-governmental Mexican Front for Human Rights.

The soldiers "have been confined to the barracks, cut off from communication and subjected to torture and cruel and degrading treatment," said Benjamin Laureano Luna, the group's president.

Opium poppies
Opium poppies are grown in Sinaloa State
He said he had been alerted to the alleged detention by wives of the soldiers, who had visited the barracks on Sunday.

Mexico's Defence Secretary General Gerardo Vega Garcia confirmed that some of the soldiers were under investigation for drug-related offences, but denied the other allegations.

"Nobody has been confined to base," he was quoted as saying.

Experts from Mexico's National Human Rights Commission have been dispatched to investigate the reports.

In the past, Mexican authorities have been seriously criticised for their use of torture as a key tool in investigations.

Combating drugs

General Garcia confirmed that about 48 soldiers were under investigation for drug trafficking.

He said the battalion was so corrupt it would probably have to be disbanded.

But despite what he called this week's "shameful event" and a series of other military drug scandals in recent years, General Garcia defended the army's role in anti-drug operations.

"Who could replace us, who else could do this work?" he said in a rare interview with local television network Televisa.

The 65th Infantry Battalion had been assigned to locate and destroy drug plots in the Sinaloa mountains.

Scores of drug distributors are said to operate in Sinaloa State, where marijuana and poppies - used in the production of heroin - are grown.

See also:

19 May 01 | Americas
04 Dec 99 | Americas
15 Jan 99 | Americas
20 Jul 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes