Torture survivor denied Covid-19 support

Adrian Vásquez Lagunes
days left to take action

Adrián Vásquez Lagunes was detained by state police as he drove in Tijuana on 26 September 2012. 

During the 12 hours that he remained in police custody, he was subjected to threats, beatings, and near-asphyxiation – including by forcing water into his nose. Afterwards, police presented him to the media declaring that he was a known drug trafficker. Vásquez Lagunes spent three years in prison unjustly on false changes. He was released from prison and acquitted from charges in December 2015, after Amnesty International campaigned on his case.

Seven and a half years after his detention, comprehensive reparation for his case is urgently necessary. It should be noted that, as part of the obligation to compensate victims comprehensively, the United Nations Committee Against Torture has recommended that compensation for cases of torture must be prompt, just, and adequate. However, Vásquez Lagunes and his family have been forced to live in precarious economic conditions as the State of Baja California has failed to fulfil Recommendation No. 15/15, issued on 5 May 2015 by the then Human Rights and Citizen Protection Ombudsman’s Office, (now the State Commission on Human Rights), which stipulated that authorities should compensate him without delay.

The State Human Rights Commission of Baja California had a meeting with Adrián and his family on Friday 12 June in which they said that they would take urgent action to get Adrian and his family enrolled in the public health social security system – called INSABI. Adrian currently has no access to free or low-cost health services and his 4 children lack support. Of his 4 children, one of them has down syndrome and has special needs which require an extra economic difficulty for the family. 

The Baja California government´s prior administration had multiple meetings with Adrian and his family and reached provisional agreements, however continued to cite administrative details for not advancing with the reparation. The authorities had explored the possibility of making operational some provisional economic support for Adrian while the full reparation package was finalised. However, this provisional and emergency economic support has not materialized. The current governor took office in December 2019 and has not taken concrete steps to further actions on these commitments.  

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