Mexican general gets 52 years in prison for torture

2016-04-29 10:35

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Mexico City – A Mexican army general has been sentenced to 52 years and six months in prison for ordering the torture of a suspect and the incineration of his body, authorities said on Thursday.

The Federal Judicial Council said the general, whose name was not released, ordered that the suspect be tortured for several hours to get information about a soldier's death in July 2008 in the northern state of Chihuahua.

The victim was taken to a military installation, where he was tied up and soaked in water in order to receive electric shocks, while other suspects were being interrogated.

The torture began in the early hours of July 28, 2008, and ended at 09:00 when the victim died, "very probably" of a heart attack resulting from the electric shocks, the council said.

The general then ordered that the body be driven to a ranch, where it was "incinerated in a clandestine manner," the council said.

The court that sentenced the general ordered the defense ministry to offer a public apology, accept responsibility and vow that such acts will not be repeated.

The general and defense ministry were ordered to pay $14 500 to relatives of the victim.

Several local media identified the general as Manuel Moreno Avina.

Mexico's armed forces and police have faced a slew of torture accusations amid a decade-long drug war.

The country's top general and police official apologised this month after a video surfaced showing federal officers and soldiers torturing a woman.

Three police officers and two soldiers will face trial on torture charges in the case.

The video, which circulated on social media, shows a policewoman placing a bag over the woman's head while she is being interrogated.

A female soldier also points the muzzle of her assault rifle on the head of the woman, who sobs as she sits barefoot on a dirt floor.

Officials say the video captures an incident that took place in February 2015 in the town of Ajuchitlan del Progreso, in the southern state of Guerrero.

The defense ministry, which arrested the two soldiers on charges of disobeying orders, says it only learned about it last December.

In another case, experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleged that authorities tortured at least 17 suspects in the investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.

The attorney general's office said later that it was investigating more than 30 torture allegations in connection with the case.

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