MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Deprived of their flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, pizza deliveries and long visits from lovers, inmates at Mexico's top security prison complained on Monday they are being treated "like dogs."
A government crackdown in prisons, aimed especially at drug lords and other violent criminals, has the prisoners of La Palma jail close to Mexico City up in arms at the "subhuman" conditions they face.
On Monday, they paid for a full-page advertisement in Mexico's top daily Reforma and called on President Vicente Fox to respect their human rights. They also want the right to buy the soft drinks of their choice from the jail's small store.
Over the past month, Fox has sent troops into prisons across Mexico, including La Palma. In cell-by-cell searches, soldiers have stripped inmates of their illegal luxuries. Conjugal visits have been halted too.
High-profile jailed drug lords have been switched to other prisons to break up their in-jail rackets and to make it more difficult to run their cartels from behind bars.
It was not clear who paid for the advertisement that was signed simply "La Palma inmates." Powerful prisoners in Mexican jails have long enjoyed privileges, whereas rank and file criminals are often abused by jailers.
In the advertisement, La Palma's prisoners claim hooded guards are now torturing them. They say they are only being served one cold meal a day, at 1 a.m.
"People dressed in black, blue and gray, covering their faces with ski masks, constantly come into our cells and hit us and kick us, telling us that for real social rehabilitation, we have to obey orders and we are only going to understand that through violence," the prisoners said.
"This is degrading us, treating us like dogs, like animals, like we are worthless, telling us that we are in this place to be severely punished because we are the scum of society," they said.
"We only ask to be treated like the humans we are ... The fact that we have been deprived of our freedom in no way means that our most basic rights have stopped as Mexican citizens. Therefore we ask for clemency so that justice be done and our human rights respected," they said.
Feb 2, '05
If they are getting only one meal a day and the hitting and kicking is not in self-defense, then yes, THAT'S wrong.
However i'm sick of prisoners whining when things like flat-screen TVs, sodas, pizza deliveries (WTH?????), lover visits, etc. are taken away. It's PRISON. It's not Club Med, it is not home, it is not the Hilton. Call me weird, but i feel that, hey, don't break the law, and you won't wind up in a position where your pizza delivery right will be revoked.
I know this article concerned Mexico City, but:
We have free people on the streets STARVING with NO HOMES, and prisons with flat-screen TVs and Game Cubes. There is something very screwed up with this picture.
Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Feb 2, '05