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Mexico's security forces routinely use 'sexual torture' against women, says rights group

Rights group Amnesty International has compiled testimonies of sexual violence used as torture by Mexican security forces. Despite thousands of complaints, only 15 probes have led to criminal convictions since 1991.

Amnesty International on Tuesday reported that Mexico's police and armed forces "routinely" subject detained women to torture, mistreatment and rape.

The human rights watchdog interviewed 100 women, all of whom reported some form of violence during their arrest or the hours following.

The abuses included blows to the stomach and head, threats of rape directed either at them or their families, near-asphyxiation, electric shocks to the genitals, groping and rape.

Out of the 100 women, 72 of them said they were subjected to sexual torture during their detention. However, all of the women interviewed by Amnesty reported at least harassment or psychological abuse.

"These women's stories paint an utterly shocking snapshot of the level of torture against women in Mexico, even by local standards," said Amnesty's Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas in a statement. "Sexual violence used as a form of torture seems to have become a routine part of interrogations."

'In the dark'

Amnesty said that in 2013, over 12,000 reports of torture and ill-treatment were filed with local and national bodies, with the total comprising 3,618 women, citing government data.

However, only a limited number of investigations have been launched, with 15 resulting in federal criminal convictions since 1991.

"This failure to carry out proper investigations and bring those responsible to justice sends a dangerous message that raping women or using other forms of sexual violence to force confessions is tolerated and actually allowed," noted Guevara-Rosas.

"Mexican authorities seem determined to keep this issue in the dark," she said.

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ls/ tj(AP, AFP)

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