All charges have been dropped against Claudia Medina Tamariz, a Mexican woman who was tortured and forced into a false confession in 2012.
In 2012, marines broke into the home of Claudia Medina Tamariz, mother of three. They arrested her and took her to a local naval base. Over several days Claudia suffered terrible torture, including electric shocks and sexual abuse, being beaten and kicked. Her torturers even forced chilli sauce up her nose with a syringe.
To make the torture stop, Claudia signed a statement that she hadn't read. She later discovered it was a false confession that she belonged to a criminal gang.
Claudia maintains her innocence. Today, all charges against her were dropped.
Torture in Mexico
On paper, Mexico’s commitment to preventing torture is impressive, having ratified, among other things, the UN Convention against Torture. Yet despite its own laws, the government allows torture to be used to get confessions, and Mexican courts regularly accept such confessions.
In the last ten years alone, there has been a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases of torture. Between 2010 and the end of 2013, the National Human Rights Commission received more than 7,000 complaints of torture. Survivors from around the country report a multitude of torture techniques, including mock executions, cruel beatings, stress positions, asphyxiation, electric shocks and sexual violence.
Knowing that I am not alone has made a big difference to me.
An Amnesty survey recently found that a whopping 64 per cent of Mexican citizens are afraid they would be tortured if they were ever to be detained by the police. In the same survey, Australia and China came out at 16 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
How did Amnesty respond?
When Amnesty International heard about Claudia's case, campaigners and supporters across the globe sprang into action. Amnesty International Australia collected over 20,000 signatures on a petition calling on the Federal Attorney General of Mexico to drop all charges against Claudia Medina, carry out a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the case, make the results public and bring those responsible to account. 343,000 people from 117 countries signed the global petition.
Claudia's case was highly publicised and supporters held events around the world to show their support. "Knowing that I am not alone has made a big difference to me.", Claudia said of her supporters.
While the dropped charges are fantastic news for Claudia Medina Tamariz and all those who helped in this campaign, there is more to be done.
The Federal Attorney General must ensure that a swift, full and impartial investigation is carried out, as established in the internationally recognised Istanbul Protocol. Those responsible for these abuses must be held to account.
Many more individuals remain at risk of torture in Mexico, and Amnesty International will continue to campaign for their protection, both in individual cases and for national reform.
Supporters around the world held events to show their support for Claudia Medina Tamariz and other victims of torture in Mexico. © Amnesty International / Henning Schacht