31 Marzo 2017 17:00
Three men forced to wear thongs and bras, and crawl around the floor, cleaning it with a rag. A large group of men taunt them, call them 'bitches', and beat them. Other footage shows naked men scrubbing the floor on their knees.
These deeply unpleasant images reveal, once again, that chaos reigns in Mexico's prison system, where violence is a daily occurrence.
After the video was leaked, state authorities released a statement saying that swift action would be taken to 'avoid any dangerous situations'. They also carried out a raid on the prison and found a number of prohibited objects, as well as drugs.
Authorities also said that they had contacted human rights organizations to seek help in solving the serious problems of Mexican jails. They apparently offered these organisations the 'full cooperation, openness and transparency of the state administration'.
Human rights organisations were quick to react. 'The National Human Rights Commission expresses its most forceful condemnation of the acts of denigration, abuse and violence that occurred in a prison in the state of Nuevo León, considering them to be an offense against the dignity of persons deprived of liberty,' said the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (The National Human Rights Commission) in a statement reported by El Universal.
One of the initiation ceremonies common to Mexican prisons involves humiliating new arrivals. This practice, which can be seen in the video, had already been denounced by the same commission in a report published in 2015. In that report, the organisation condemned the overpopulation of the Apodaca prison specifically, as well as the general lack of order and organisation in the state's prisons that meant human rights violations often went unpunished. The prison administration was found to be overwhelmed by the situation and thus unable to prevent some prisoners exercising their authority like tyrants.
These deeply unpleasant images reveal, once again, that chaos reigns in Mexico's prisons, where violence is a daily occurrence
An additional factor is that internal wars are often waged between members of rival drug cartels, which often lead to abuse and violence between inmates.
Nonetheless, this is the first time a video documenting abuse in such a gratuitous way has come to light. Maïssa Hubert, from the NGO Documenta, told Observers France, 'this type of abuse becomes more likely when the prison administration is incompetent and lacks control, as is the case in Nuevo León.'
After the video was posted, three prison employees were fired for negligence and an investigation was opened to determine who was responsible for the incident.