UN urges probe into Mexico prison riot

Mexico City, Feb 16 (IANS) United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez on Monday called on Mexican authorities to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into last week’s deadly prison riot.

The investigation into the February 11 incident at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, capital of north Nuevo Leon state, which left at least 49 inmates dead, aims to uncover the causes of the massacre and identify those responsible, whether prison staff or other inmates, Xinhua reported.

“I urge Mexican authorities to guarantee the right of the families to know the truth about what happened, to quickly identify those who died whose names are as yet unknown, to deliver in a dignified way the remains of those killed and to provide quality medical attention to the injured,” Mendez said in a statement published by media outlets.

“The investigation should also lead to reparations for the victims and their families, including guarantees such an incident will not happen again and that it will lead to a substantial improvement of the prison’s conditions,” he added.

Mendez had inspected Topo Chico in April of 2014 and warned prison officials of the precarious situation at the facility, including a lack of oversight that generated an air of chaos and gave groups within the prison too much control.

“I could see that the excessive leniency in the way the inmates were governed led to autonomy and violence at the prison,” said Mendez, citing cruelty to prisoners with disabilities.

He also noted dilapidated facilities, unsanitary conditions and poor quality of food in a report he submitted to prison officials on April 27.

Nuevo Leon’s state government on Saturday issued a statement on the incident, saying the clash occurred between two different criminal rings at the prison that were allowed to operate, including drug trafficking, with the consent of officials there.

State police have taken over the prison since the incident and relocated 233 of the inmates to other facilities, according to the office of Governor Jaime Rodriguez, who took office about 100 days ago.

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