Erick Razo Casales says he mastered patience during the countless hours he spent locked up in a Mexican cell subjected to multiple physical and psychological causes of abuse.
After he was arrested in 2011, he remained behind bars for 11 years under informal preventive detention — that is, without being tried — accused of kidnapping and organized crime.
“Since I didn’t tell them anything, they beat me and began to torture me,” said Razo, who was released in the early hours of May 28. “It was 26 hours of torture,” he said in an interview with Noticias Telemundo, recalling his first days in custody. “They didn’t let me sleep for 26 hours.”
According to official documents by a United Nations human rights task force, recently released by the Mexican government, Razo Casales was severely beaten and received electric shocks to his genitals and other parts of his body. Years later, he still has intense pain in his knees, is blind in one eye, and can only hear from one ear.
Human rights attorneys and groups in Mexico and abroad are denouncing what they see as the widespread use of torture at the hands of law enforcement, noting that official figures don’t come close to the actual number of cases.
The topic came into focus on June 26, as the United Nations marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On that day in 1987, the U.N.’s Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered into force; it’s been since ratified by 162 countries.
Various experts and victims agree that torture is a common practice in Mexico, despite the efforts of the current government and various judicial reforms implemented in recent years.
Razo Casales’ sister, Veronica, was also arrested in 2011 and is still incarcerated. She was sentenced to 25 years.
The Razo Casales siblings were detained by officers of the Federal Police, a body that no longer exists, in Mexico City. According to official information, on the way to the police station, the agents stopped at an unknown location where they undressed and beat Verónica Razo Casales. They allegedly tried to suffocate her, applied electric shocks on her, and sexually abused her.
Source: Amnestía Internacional