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UA 122/21
Aktiv seit 7. Dezember 2021 | Noch 2 Tage Laufzeit
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Wording correction

Please take note: The wording has been corrected (marked oblique) in the Additional Information

Prosecutors must investigate torture

AI-Index: AMR 41/5080/2021

On 3 August, José Eduardo Ravelo died from multiple internal injuries, after telling his mother the police had tortured him in detention days before in Mérida, state of Yucatán. The prosecutor’s office carrying out the investigation of Jose Eduardo's death has publicly stated that torture or ill treatment did not occur during his detention, even before concluding the investigation, raising serious doubts about the seriousness and impartiality of the prosecutors. We urge the Attorney General to ensure an independent and exhaustive investigation into all possible crimes committed against José Eduardo, and to guarantee full access to justice and reparations for his mother.


A few days after Jose Eduardo’s mother made public the story of his son in August, state representatives stated publicly that the young man had been detained for «disturbing the public order» because he was allegedly «under the influence of drugs».

In August, a judge dismissed charges against four municipal police officers who had been initially charged with homicide, aggravated rape and aggravated torture crimes against Jose Eduardo, stating that was no sufficient evidence to prosecute them.

The prosecutor’s office of the State of Yucatan was initially in charge of investigations, but a prosecutor’s unit specialized in investigations of torture, from the Attorney General’s Office at federal level (Fiscalía General de la República, FGR) then took over the case. According to the information received by Amnesty International, prosecutors now in charge have refused to use Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment («Istanbul Protocol») which contains essential guidelines to effectively document torture, arguing they cannot do it with deceased persons.

In its public statement from 28 October, the FGR also mentioned they had detected problems in investigations carried out by prosecutor’s of the State of Yucatan who had previously been in charge of the investigation.

To date, there is still no clarity about the causes and responsible of his death and alleged torture, which remain unpunished.

The ombudsperson’s office (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos) also opened an investigation into all alleged human rights violations perpetrated by Mexican institutions against José Eduardo and his mother, which remains pending to date.

Amnesty International has long documented human rights violations perpetrated during arrests or detentions by national and state security forces in Mexico, including arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and torture. In 2017, Amnesty International published the report False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico. The research showed the way in which arrests by police forces in Mexico occur, specifically, when the authorities alleged that they arrest a person in flagrante delicto; that is, at the time when a crime was being committed. Amnesty International found that, in Mexico, the arrests of people who were allegedly committing a crime at the time of the arrest, do not serve as a genuine response to the crimes being committed in the country, but are used by the authorities illegally, mainly against those who face historical situations of discrimination, with a worrying impact on young men living in poverty. The report also showed that the use of undue force during detention persists, and that many detainees are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.

On May 5, 2020, Giovanny Lopez, a 30-year-old bricklayer, died after being beaten by police after being arrested in the state of Jalisco, apparently for not wearing a face mask. In March 2021, several UN bodies and human rights organizations condemned the death of Victoria Salazar, a Salvadoran refugee, [correct wording in oblique:] resulting from excessive use of force during her arrest at hands of four police officers in Tulum, state of Quintana Roo.

United Nations human rights bodies have also regularly expressed their concerns about the widespread use of torture, ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police forces, armed forces and other public officials, particularly during arrest and the early stages of detention, and the serious deficiencies in the investigation of acts of torture and ill-treatment in Mexico, as well as the persistence of high levels of impunity associated with this type of crime and made recommendations to the Mexican authorities to end these human rights violations.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Take action on Social media: Infos see the yellow field on the right.

  • Please take action before 31 January 2022.

  • Preferred language: Spanish. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Dear Attorney General,

I am extremely concerned by the public declarations recently made by the prosecutor’s office in charge of the ongoing investigation into the alleged torture of José Eduardo Ravelo at the hands of police officers in Mérida, state of Yucatán in July, and his subsequent death on 3 August.

José Eduardo, 23, had travelled from Veracruz to Mérida for a job interview. According to his mother on 23 July José Eduardo told her the police had detained him two days before, and that agents the beat and sexually abused him. He died days later from multiple internal injuries.

According to the information received, the prosecutor’s office has refused to apply crucial guidelines to effectively document and investigate signs of torture (Istambul Protocol). Despite this and that the investigation is still ongoing, on 28 October the prosecutor’s office publicly stated that based on the evidence gathered, José Eduardo was neither tortured nor sexually assaulted by police officers and that none of his rights had been violated. These hasty conclusions and omissions to apply the Istambul protocol put at risk the rights of José Eduardo's family to have his death and possible torture or ill treatment in police custody clarified with all due diligence.

I urge you to immediately ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, sexual assault and excessive use of force perpetrated against José Eduardo is carried on, in compliance with all existing guidelines including the Istambul Protocol. His mother’s rights to justice and reparations must be fully guaranteed.

Yours sincerely,


Model letter in Spanish - find here (Propuesta de carta en español)

Señor Fiscal General:
Me preocupan enormemente las declaraciones públicas realizadas recientemente por la fiscalía encargada de la investigación en curso sobre la presunta tortura infligida a José Eduardo Ravelo por agentes de policía en Mérida, estado de Yucatán, en julio, y por la subsiguiente muerte de este joven el 3 de agosto.
José Eduardo, de 23 años, había viajado de Veracruz a Mérida para una entrevista de trabajo. Según su madre, el 23 de julio le dijo que la policía lo había detenido dos días antes y que los agentes lo habían golpeado y lo habían sometido a abusos sexuales. Murió unos días después a causa de múltiples lesiones internas.
Según la información recibida, la fiscalía se ha negado a aplicar directrices cruciales para documentar e investigar de forma eficaz señales de tortura (Protocolo de Estambul). A pesar de ello, y de que la investigación aún está en curso, el 28 de octubre la fiscalía declaró públicamente que, basándose en las pruebas recopiladas, José Eduardo no había sido torturado ni agredido sexualmente por agentes de policía, y no se había violado ninguno de sus derechos. Estas apresuradas conclusiones, y el hecho de que no se haya aplicado el Protocolo de Estambul, amenazan el derecho de la familia de José Eduardo a que su muerte y sus posibles tortura o malos tratos bajo custodia policial sean aclarados con la diligencia debida.
Le insto a garantizar de inmediato que se lleva a cabo, de acuerdo con todas las directrices existentes, incluido el Protocolo de Estambul, una investigación independiente, efectiva e imparcial sobre las denuncias de tortura, agresión sexual y uso excesivo de la fuerza perpetrados contra José Eduardo. Deben garantizarse plenamente los derechos de la madre de José Eduardo a la justicia y la reparación.



Appeals to

Alejando Gertz Manero
Attorney General

Twitter: @FGRMexico


Copies to

Ambassade du Mexique
Weltpoststrasse 20
3015 Berne

Fax: 031 357 47 48

Social media guide

#Mexico: 4 meses pasaron desde que murió de José Eduardo Ravelo al salir de detencion policial en #Merida.   @FGRMexico debe garantizar una investigación independiente de TODOS los posibles delitos y violaciones de #DDHH que sufrió. #NoALaImpunidad

#Mexico: 4 months passed since death of José Eduardo Ravelo after leaving police detention in #Merida.   @FGRMexico must guarantee an independent investigation of ALL possible crimes and #HumanRights violations he suffered.  #NoALaImpunidad

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