Claudia Medina Tamariz woke at 3am on 7 August 2012, to find marines had broken into her home in Veracruz City, Mexico. They tied her hands, blindfolded her and took her to the local naval base where she says she was given electric shocks, beaten and kicked. She was wrapped in plastic to disguise the marks from the beating. Claudia, a mother of three, was accused of being a member of a violent criminal gang. She denies it.
The day after her arrest, she was blindfolded again and taken with a group of other detainees to the Federal Attorney General’s Office. When the blindfold was removed, she realised her husband and brother-in-law had also been arrested. A prosecutor interrogated Claudia and a marine pressured her into signing a statement that she wasn’t allowed to read.
In court, on 13 August 2012, she retracted her statement and described the abuse inflicted on her in detention. All the charges except one, carrying an illegal weapon, were dropped and she was released on bail. But after the hearing a second charge was added, driving a stolen car in order to commit crimes, based on the marine’s version of events regarding her arrest.
A judge ordered the Federal Attorney General’s Office to investigate her allegations. This investigation was meant to include an independent medical assessment, Mexico is obliged to do this under UN guidelines for investigating torture, the Istanbul Protocol, but the office took so long to do this that Claudia had to appeal to independent forensic experts to conduct an assessment.
Two expert reports have now confirmed that Claudia’s testimony is consistent with the medical and psychological consequences that forensic experts detected.
But to date no one has anyone been held to account for Claudia’s torture.