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Mexico: 16-year-old student kicked unconscious by police because of his haircut

Amnesty International today (13 July) condemned the conduct of police in Chiapas state southern Mexico after sixteen-year-old student and street artist José Emiliano Nandayapa Gomez was beaten unconscious on 27 June, reportedly because of his ‘subversive haircut’. He was told by police "what a lovely subversive haircut you have, here's your revolution, get the weapons and the drugs out". Over the course of an hour he was then kicked and punched by three officers. He eventually lost consciousness after being kicked in the head.

After reporting the incident to the chief of police a further assault took place on his family including his elderly grandfather and pregnant mother. Amnesty is asking its supporters around the world to send an appeal to the Mexican authorities

After the family filed a complaint with the local police they were refused assistance and insulted. A further assault followed after José’s father was forcibly detained and his grandfather and pregnant mother were also assaulted. After speaking out on a local radio station about the attacks on 30 June, José and his father were chased by two municipal police officers. After reporting the incident an official at the public prosecutors office initially refused to register the case.

José Emiliano Nandayapa has been involved in a local movement in San Cristóbal de las Casas promoting the rights of young people, highlighting impunity and criticising government policies. He claims he has been harassed by police for these activities. The incident took place after he was stopped for a routine search by municipal officers as he was walking to his home.

Kate Allen said:

“We are extremely concerned to hear about the shocking attacks on José Emiliano Nandayapa Gomez and his family by the municipal police.

We are calling for the protection of José and his family, in order that they may pursue their complaint without fear of further harassment and intimidation.

Amnesty is urging the authorities to carry out a full, impartial investigation into these allegations of ill treatment and for those responsible to be held to account”

Amnesty International continues to document torture or other ill-treatment in different parts Mexico committed by federal, state and especially municipal police. Those responsible are almost never held to account.

According to local human rights organisations recent legislation passed by the municipal government to deter graffiti artists has led to unwarranted harassment of young people in the city and resulted in the death of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by a private security guard.

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