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His child died while he was in prison

Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo's eight-year-old son was dying of cancer. Ángel is a black Honduran, a member of the downtrodden Garifuna community. In desperate hope of earning money for a cure for his child, Ángel tried to get to the United States.

He struggled through Mexico, risking beatings and abduction and murder like other undocumented migrants; got all the way to Tijuana just before the U.S. border. A "coyote", a people-smuggler, promised to help him cross the border, but he would have to wait several days. Armed Mexican policemen stormed the house where Ángel was staying. They kicked him, struck him in the ribs, punched him in the stomach, forced him to walk on his knees; took him to a military base, where he could hear the screams of other detainees. They put a plastic bag over his head until he was nearly asphyxiated, stripped him, forced him to lick clean the shoes of other prisoners, calling him ‘pinche negro’ ("fucking nigger").

The torture went on until he confessed to being in a criminal gang. He later told a judge that the charge was false. But he was thrown into prison.

When Ángel had been there six months, his child died. He is still in prison five years later.

Members of the Garífuna community are among the most socially marginalized in Honduras. They are particularly at risk of human rights violations when migrating within and outside their country.

In Mexico the criminal justice system often discriminates against people from marginalized social groups, said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “Some languish in prison simply because of their racial or cultural identity.”

As a result of this miscarriage of justice, Amnesty has recently adopted Ángel as a prisoner of conscience.  “Ángel Colón’s detention and ongoing trial are purely based on his ethnicity,” Guevara Rosas said. “This is a man who has been tortured and severely mistreated. He must be released immediately and unconditionally,”

You can help free Ángel!  Please download the sample letter and either post or email it to Mexico's president.

Torture is used routinely by Mexican police and security forces.  Reports of torture increased alarmingly starting in 2006 when the government adopted a military approach to tackling organised crime.

Mexico is one of the five countries that Amnesty is featuring in its global “Stop Torture” campaign.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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