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FI 235/15-1
Abgeschlossen am 30. Dezember 2015

Torture victim no longer held incommunicado

AI-Index: AMR 41/2904/2015

Julián Castilla Flores, torture victim and Lieutenant of the Mexican Army was recently visited by his lawyer in a federal prison, after having been transferred there and held incommunicado. While his safety and personal integrity are currently unharmed, there are still fears that he is at risk of attacks and intimidation from prisoners or authorities.

On 5 November Julián Castilla Flores’s lawyer visited him in a federal prison in Veracruz state, Mexico. The lawyer informed Amnesty International that Julián Castilla Flores is physically well with no signs of ill treatment. Julián Castilla Flores had been suddenly removed from his cell in a military prison in Mexico City on 16 October along with over 40 other prisoners and was denied contact with his lawyers and family for several weeks.

Julián Castilla Flores was detained arbitrarily on 14 March 2011 by military police in Chiapas State, where he had been posted as a Lieutenant in the Mexican army. That same day he was transferred to the Federal Attorney General’s Office on organized crime (SEIDO) in Mexico City, and during the journey was subject to various methods of torture including asphyxiation, water treatment to simulate drowning, and electric shocks. Julián Castilla Flores has been in prison since 2011, accused of being an informant to organized criminal groups. His trial is being carried out in military jurisdiction where it has reached its conclusion and awaits sentencing.

According to a recent investigative report from Proceso magazine, the transfer of Julián Castilla Flores and dozens of other military inmates to civilian federal prisons is due to an unprecedented order from the head of the armed forces. According to this research as well as information from Julián Castilla Flores and his lawyer, his transfer could put him at greater risk of threats, intimidation or attacks as he is forced to co-inhabit with inmates who could target him due to his military profile.


Torture is widespread in Mexico. Police and military officers often use it in the context of public security operations in order to extract «confessions» or «information» from criminal suspects or from people who are simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Officers also use torture to instil fear on detainees so that they are less likely to come forward and report the abuses they suffer.

In a survey commissioned last year by Amnesty International, 64 per cent of respondents feared suffering torture if taken into custody. According to the National Human Rights Commission, there was a six-fold rise in the number of complaints for torture and other forms of ill-treatment received between 2003 and 2013. Between 2010 and 2013 alone there were more than 7,000 complaints. The Commission reported a slight decrease in 2014. However, the Commission’s mandate focuses on allegations against federal officials only. Nobody knows the extent of torture by municipal and state-level officials, who represent the vast majority of police officers in the country.

Torture is frequently carried out by members of the army against civilians, but also against members of the army itself. In June 2014 the Code of Military Justice excluded from the military justice system crimes committed by members of the armed forces against civilians. However, the reforms failed to exclude from military jurisdiction those human rights violations committed against members of the armed forces.

Name: Julián Castilla Flores

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