Mexican drug lord feels like “zombie” due to checks in prison

Mexico City, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman is “turning into a zombie” due to lack of sleep from the bed checks conducted every two hours at the Altiplano prison in central Mexico, one of his attorneys said on Tuesday.

Guards wake Guzman up every two hours, creating an “unbearable” situation that makes him feel as if he were being “tortured,” defence attorney Juan Pablo Badillo told Radio Formula.

“They wake me up for a bed check, please, they are turning me into a zombie, they won’t let me sleep, all I want is to be allowed to sleep,” Badillo, who met with Guzman on Monday, quoted the drug lord as saying.

Officials should “immediately end the infamous and brutal physical and mental torture” that Guzman is being subjected to, Badillo said, adding that defence attorneys “will not rest” until warden Salvador Almonte Solis is prosecuted.

Guzman wants to be tried under Mexican law, the defence attorney said.

The Sinaloa cartel leader is allowed to meet with just one of his lawyers for 30 minutes once a week, a violation of the accused’s constitutional right to “hire as many lawyers as he wishes and to have the direct communications needed to deal with defense matters,” Badillo said.

Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza, another of Guzman’s lawyers, said in a statement on January 24 that the drug lord was being held incommunicado and was suffering from lack of sleep, a situation that Badillo alleges has worsened.

Gonzalez Meza said a dog that barked “a lot” was guarding Guzman and “preventing him from sleeping”.

The dog “barks less now,” Badillo said. “The poor creature is tired, he felt the infamy.”

Guzman was captured on January 8 in Los Mochis, a Pacific coast city in Sinaloa state.

The drug lord had escaped from a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City through a 1.5-kmr tunnel dug to his cell on July 11, 2015.

Guzman had earlier busted out of a Mexican prison in 2001 and evaded authorities for more than 13 years before being recaptured on February 22, 2014, in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan.

The Sinaloa organisation, sometimes referred to by Mexican officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and is led by Guzman and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the US, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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