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Mexico: UN experts demand release of Daniel García and Reyes Alpízar after over 16 years in pre-trial detention

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GENEVA (27 June 2019) - The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reiterates its call for the unconditional release of Daniel García and Reyes Alpízar, who have been held in pre-trial detention in Mexico for 17 and 16-1/2 years respectively.

In August 2017, the Working Group concluded that the detention of Mr. García and Mr. Alpízar was arbitrary given the absence of a legal basis and because it was imposed through a procedure in which the basic guarantees of a fair trial were not respected. (See opinion 66/2017)

"Mr. García and Mr. Alpízar were detained without an arrest warrant and were not promptly brought before a judge”, said Leigh Toomey, Vice-Chair of the Working Group. “Additionally, their presumption of innocence was not respected and they were reportedly subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting confessions or incriminating statements."

The Working Group’s Opinion 66/2017 was transmitted to the Government of Mexico on 2 October 2017. On 13 April 2018, the Working Group requested the Government to provide information on the measures taken to implement its recommendations.

The Working Group has received recent information that these two persons continue to be detained in Mexico, and there was no evidence that the torture reportedly inflicted on them has been investigated and punished. There are currently two appeals reviewing the legality of a decision refusing to grant alternatives to pre-trial detention.

The Working Group wishes to recall that the United Nations General Assembly, in its Resolution 60/251, paragraph 9, decided that States which are "members elected to the [Human Rights] Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.” In view of the gravity and length of the arbitrary detention of Mr. García and Mr. Alpízar, as well as the considerations made in Opinion 66/2017, the Working Group reiterates its call that Mexico, member of the Human Rights Council, fully restore the liberty of these two men.