Woman was raped after Mexican authorities sent her to a male prison

One and a half year after the incident, authorities will investigate the case

Woman was raped after Mexican authorities sent her to a male prison
A female inmate hangs clothes in the Topo Chico prison, during a media tour, in Monterrey, Mexico, February 17, 2016 - Photo: Daniel Becerril/REUTERS
English 16/02/2020 16:03 Irma Mejía / Corresponsal Mexico City Actualizada 15:57
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It’s been over a year since a woman was sent to a male prison in the northern state of Zacatecas, where she stayed for 29 days and where she was sexually abused by a guard who is now on the run.

On August 21, 2018, the woman was arrested after an arrest warrant was issued and she was sent to a prison in Calera, in Zacatecas.

The woman remained in that prison until September 19, 2018. During a hearing, a judge ordered her relocation to the Cieneguillas female prison.

Recommended: 8 in every 10 women arrested are sexually abused in Mexico

While in the male prison, the woman was held in a different area, away from male inmates. Nevertheless, she was supposed to be monitored by female guards 24 hours a day; however, this was not the case and a male guard sexually abused her.

One and a half years after the incident, authorities will investigate the case and the rapist could be charged with aggravated sexual abuse. Berenice Vázquez, the prosecutor specialized in human rights, and Ismael Camberos, the local public security chief, argued that the woman was sent to a male prison because Mexican law dictates detainees have to face their trial in the prison that is closest to their home.

The case was revealed by the local Human Rights Commission, which issued a recommendation to the Public Security Ministry after Zacatecas authorities sent a woman to a male prison, where she was sexually abused.

Recommended: 9 out of 10 people arrested by Mexican authorities are tortured

María de la Luz Domínguez, the head of the local Human Rights Commission, told EL UNIVERSAL that it issued an official recommendation in December 2019 but that the investigation started in September 2018, after a female inmate reported she was abused by prison staff.

María de la Luz Domínguez said that since this case, the commission has requested authorities not so send women to male prisons and instead to send them directly to the Cieneguillas prison. She emphasized that there are serious omissions in this case because the victim should have never been in contact with a male prison guard.

The human rights commission said it has ordered local authorities to punish government officials for their actions or omissions, which violated the human rights of the victim. It has also asked the special prosecutor to take legal action against the prison guard.

The Human Rights Commission of Zacatecas urged judges not to send women to male prisons.

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After the case went viral, the state security minister announced two prison directors were fired: Adán Jimenez Solano, the director of Prevention and Social Readaptation, as well Ricardo Serrano, the head of the prison were the sexual abuse took place.

Arturo Nahle García, a local magistrate, said state authorities lied when they said it took three weeks for a judge to authorize the relocation of a female inmate to a woman prison after she was sexually abused by a male guard.

The magistrate added that the judge never ordered that the female inmate was sent to a male prison and explained that all the prisons are mixed, expect from the one the woman was sent to.

Nahle García revealed the woman was accused of aggravated kidnapping.

Authorities are still searching for the prison guard who sexually abused the inmate.

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