Mexico torture rampant

Mexico City - Torture and other forms of ill-treatment are "out of control" in Mexico, according to rights group Amnesty International.

Over the past 10 years, the number of cases of torture has increased by 600%, Amnesty said in a report released on Thursday in Mexico City. Perpetrators are almost never punished, the report said.

Involvement by Mexico's security forces in the fight against organised crime and the country's powerful drug gangs has made matters worse, the NGO said.

The police and the military regularly use torture and other ill-treatment as investigative tools "to extract information or false confessions," the report said.

In May, Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, denounced the fact that torture was common practice for Mexico's security forces.

Amnesty International stressed that the military lacked training for regular police work and resorted to illegal methods, which deny suspects the right to a fair trial.

According to the NGO, torture victims report beatings, death threats, electric prods and sexual violence. Investigators, public prosecutors and ombudsmen often do not take evidence of torture seriously enough and fail to take action, the report says.

Amnesty International called for Mexico's security forces to be removed from normal policing tasks, and for an end to long detentions without trial. Mexico's Attorney General's Office should commit to investigating all evidence of torture and punish those responsible, the NGO said.