Three survivors of sexual torture from Veracruz regain freedom after five years in prison

Three survivors of sexual torture from Veracruz regain freedom after five years in prison

Published by Prodh

  • The district judge ordered the release of Denise Blanco, Korina Utrera and Wendy Hernández, victims of sexual torture.
  • Amnesty InternationaI and Prodh demand prompt investigation of allegations of sexual torture and serious human rights violations against these women.

Mexico City, November 17th, 2016. The First District Criminal Procedure Judge of the State of Veracruz ordered the release of Denise Blanco, Korina Utrera and Wendy Hernández, survivors of sexual torture from Veracruz after five years in custody as a result of an unfair criminal trial based on unlawful evidence.

Denise, Korina and Wendy came out of the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation (CEFERESO), number 16 in Morelos today at dawn. Her freedom, says Denise Blanco, is “to have a life again, which has been suspended for no reason, to make up for lost time. ”

In August 2011, Denise, Korina and Wendy were arrested without warrant in Villahermosa, Tabasco, by members of the Armed Navy of Mexico and taken to a military facility in Veracruz.

Wendy, Denise and Korina were humiliated, raped, subjected to semi-asphyxiation and electric shocks, and sexual orientation insults, in order to obtain self-incriminating confessions and involve responsibility of persons they did not know in the commission of various crimes.

To these offenses was added the lack of communication and the delay in making available to the competent authorities; moreover, they were brought before the Attorney General’s office in Veracruz and not in Tabasco where they were detained. The three were identified to the media as belonging to a criminal group in a trial full of irregularities and composed of illegal evidence based on arbitrary detention and sexual torture. Once arrested, these women have lost the opportunity to report their crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators of violence against them.

“Freedom is to reborn with my family and the people who supported me. Today is a new life for me, I stand upright and I want justice to be done” demanded Korina Utrera. Meanwhile, Wendy Hernandez explained that for her, freedom means “looking straight ahead and with thirst for justice”.

The organizations that accompanied them acknowledged that the release of these torture survivors is a first step towards justice and demanded that the Office of the Attorney General do not appeal the judge’s decision in the case, investigate on the allegations of torture, ensure that survivors can use effective remedies and receive full compensation.

Media visibility of the case and public pressure were essential for torture survivors to obtain their freedom. The three have joined the campaign “Breaking the Silence. All together against sexual torture” initiated by survivors of sexual torture in the San Salvador Atenco police operation in May 2006, and their case was documented by Amnesty International in the report “Surviving Death. Torture of women by police and army in Mexico” in an unprecedented investigation into abuses against women during interrogations or arrests, in which the three told the organization about the ill-treatments they have suffered.