Urgent Action – Zamora Gómez family (Mexico)

28 July 2009

UA 202/09 – Torture

MEXICO – José Natividad Zamora Gómez (m), aged 25
Andrés Zamora Gómez (m), aged 27
Jorge Hernández Jardón (m), aged 24

Soldiers broke into the home of the Zamora Gómez family in Morelos state, central Mexico, and tortured three people. The soldiers searched the house and found no weapons or drugs, but went back to watch the house. The family are at risk of further serious human rights violations.

At 12:30am on 24 July, a group of 15 soldiers wearing balaclavas and carrying firearms kicked the front door and broke into the home of the Zamora Gómez family, in Jiutepec municipality. The soldiers did not have a warrant to enter the house. The soldiers grabbed and tied José Natividad Zamora Gómez (aged 25), his brother Andrés Zamora Gómez (aged 27) and his brother-in-law Jorge Hernández Jardón (aged 24) and started hitting them, asking questions about “weapons and drugs” and what they knew about a local criminal gang. They forced the mother of the two brothers, along with their wives and their four small children, into a room and questioned them as well.

The soldiers put a pillow case over Andrés Zamora’s head and then doused him with water while they continued hitting and interrogating him. Andrés Zamora could not speak and could hardly breathe. They then took him out of the house and threw him out onto the street. The soldiers also searched the house, saying they were looking for drugs and weapons. They found nothing, and left at 2am. When asked why they were doing this, one officer said they were “only doing their job” (solo hacían su trabajo) and that they would be coming back for more questioning.

When the family tidied up the house, they realized that 1000 pesos (US$75) had gone missing, as well as four mobile phones and other belongings. On the afternoon of 25 July, soldiers arrived in a military truck, which they parked outside the house. They watched the house, pointing a floodlight at it at night, before leaving on 26 July.

The Zamora Gómez family filed a complaint about their treatment at the hands of the soldiers with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) and the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since 2007, organized crime related violence has spiraled in Mexico. In 2008, media reported that more than 6,000 people were killed in violent incidents attributed to organized crime. President Calderón’s administration has attempted to deal with the spiraling violent crime by deploying thousands of federal police and over 50,000 military personnel in the worst affected areas. However this has not resulted in a reduction in crime. Instead, according to the CNDH, reports of abuses by the military, including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detentions and illegal house searches have increased six-fold between 2006 and 2008. Most of these abuses fail to be adequately investigated and are routinely tried by military tribunals, which do not guarantee an effective recourse to justice for the victims of abuses.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:
Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

  • Urging the authorities to ensure that the Zamora Gómez family are given appropriate protection, in accordance with their wishes, following the illegal search and the torture of three of them on 24 July by army soldiers in Jiutepec municipality, Morelos;
  • Calling on the authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into this illegal house search and torture, and hold those responsible to account;
  • Calling for effective measures to ensure military anti-crime operations are carried out in accordance with the law and international human rights standards, and that any alleged abuses are promptly and impartially investigated.

APPEALS TO:

Attorney General of the Republic
Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la República
Procuraduría General de la República
Av. Paseo de la Reforma no 211-213,
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06500, MEXICO
Fax: 011 52 55 5346 0908
Email: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Señor Procurador General

Minister of Defense
Gral. Guillermo Galván Galván
Secretario de la Defensa Nacional
Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional
Blvd. Manuel Ávila Camacho s/n,
Col. Lomas de Sotelo, C.P. 11640
México D.F., MEXICO
Fax: 011 52 55 5395 2935
Salutation: Señor Secretario / Dear Minister

Minister of Interior
Lic. Fernando F. Gómez-Mont Urueta
Secretario de Gobernación
Secretaría de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso,
Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,
México D.F., C.P.06600, MEXICO
Fax: 011 52 55 5093 3414
Email: secretario@segob.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Secretario/Dear Minister

COPIES TO:

Comisión Independiente de Derechos Humanos de Morelos
Email: cidhmorelos@gmail.com

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20006
Fax: 1 202 728 1698
Email: mexembusa@sre.gob.mx

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 8 September 2009.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Ave SE 5th fl
Washington DC 20003
Email: uan@aiusa.org
Phone: 202.544.0200
Fax: 202.675.8566

{Download a sample letter in MS Word or view online.}

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