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Cable 18: Report From US Consulate on Torture and Detention by State and Local Law Enforcement in Monterrey Mexico

Cable 18: Report From US Consulate on Torture and Detention by State and Local Law Enforcement in Monterrey Mexico

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Published by Andres
This is a 2008 report from the US Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. It addresses allegations that state and local law enforcement authorities committed human rights violations in operations against street gangs in Monterrey in 2007.
This is a 2008 report from the US Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. It addresses allegations that state and local law enforcement authorities committed human rights violations in operations against street gangs in Monterrey in 2007.

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Published by: Andres on Feb 12, 2011
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P 102144Z APR 08FM AMCONSUL MONTERREYTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2835UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MONTERREY 000182SUBJECT: DRUG WAR BRINGS COMPLAINTS OF ARBITRARYDETENTION; MEXICAN MILITARY NOT INVOLVED
MONTERREY 00000182¶1. (SBU) Summary: The number of complaints of humanrights abuses in Nuevo Leon increased substantially in2007 according to the state human rights agency and alocal NGO, and the majority of these complaints stemfrom alleged arbitrary detention. The alleged abusesappear to be perpetrated by state and local police, notthe Mexican military pursuing the drug cartels. TheState Commission has started a police training programpromoting greater human rights awareness and respect.However, both the Commission and the NGO acknowledgedthat investigations of complaints do not lead torepercussions for security or justice officials. EndSummary.
Human Rights Complaints Rise, but State Agency and NGODiffer on the Statistics
 
 ¶2. (U) The Nuevo Leon State Commission on HumanRights (CEDH) reports an increase in arbitrarydetentions, but claims of torture have not increased.CEDH was founded in 1992 essentially as a chapter ofMexico's National Human Rights Commission, a semi-autonomous body that receives its funding from theMexican government. According to Paulo Pedro CuellarMartinez, CEDH's Public Relations Director, complaintsof arbitrary detention increased by about 35% from 2006to 2007. He reported that CEDH currently receives 11-23complaints per month of arbitrary detention, and thatthe majority of these complaints are against state andlocal police. He also noted that many individuals arepresently detained for as long as 30 days, despiteMexican law which states a person cannot be held formore than 48 hours without being charged for a crime.On the other hand, he said that complaints of tortureare minimal -- about 1 per month -- compared to 1996-97when the numbers were much higher, due to a previousintensification in the "war on drugs" at that time.¶3. (SBU) Cuellar, and other CEDH officials, reportedthat the increase in complaints of arbitrary detentionsis directly related to increased efforts to combat drugtrafficking in the state. The current wave of policesweeps taking place in and around Monterrey has led tothe arbitrary detention of many people, mostlyadolescent and young adult males. CEDH officialsbelieve this is the only negative consequence thus farof the heightened security measures at the state andlocal level.
 
¶4. (SBU) Cuellar Martinez described CEDH as a moralauthority and frankly admitted that it "has no teeth"to force the authorities to change their policepractices. He also noted that CEDH has an imageproblem because it is perceived by the public as adefender of delinquents.¶5. (U) CEDH recently signed an agreement with NuevoLeon's state police to provide police officers withhuman rights training. They plan to train 10% of allmid-level officers as human rights instructors, whowill then train the remainder of the police force. Thetraining consists of 3 modules and a total of 48 hoursof instruction over a 3-month period. Monterrey policewill be the first to receive the course in March andApril. According to the Director of the Institute ofHuman Rights Studies and Development, the educativebranch of CEDH, human rights training and workshops arepart of the Institute's regular curriculum. However,this is the first time that security officials will betrained to become human rights instructors, in order tocreate an institutional training basis in human rightswithin the state's public security forces.¶6. (SBU) In contrast, the NGO Citizens in Support ofHuman Rights (CADHAC) found that the number of probablehuman rights abuses trended sharply upwards in 2007,although the most serious allegations were made inconnection to common crime, not operations against drugcartels. In 2006, CADHAC's investigation determinedthat of 199 cases received, 20% were potential humanrights abuses. In the first half of 2007, CADHACreceived 43 cases and determined that 50% were human

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