We can’t wait any longer. Free Verónica Razo #VerónicaLibre

By Magdalena Medley, Women’s Human Rights Co-group

“… I avoid closing my eyes at night, I don’t like closing my eyes at all because it all comes back to me.”

On June 8, 2011, Verónica Razo was walking to pick up her children from school in Mexico City when she was suddenly stopped by a group of men without uniforms and abducted. They took her to a Federal Police warehouse where she was held for 24 hours and tortured. She was beaten, subjected to near asphyxiation and electric shocks, and repeatedly raped by several police officers. She was threatened, and forced to sign a “confession” admitting to abduction and other crimes she didn’t commit.

Today, on August 29th, it is Verónica’s 39th birthday, and it has now been almost six years since Verónica’s arrest and she is still waiting to be released. On 24 March 2017, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), issued a recommendation on her case which confirms that Verónica has been subject to arbitrary detention, violations of due process, torture, and sexual violence..

Amnesty International needs your help in calling on Mexican authorities to release Verónica from prison and drop all charges against her immediately.

Why is this happening in Mexico?

According to a 2016 Amnesty International report, Mexican police and armed forces routinely use torture and ill treatment during arrests. As the country wages a so-called “war on drugs”, many women are being detained illegally, tortured, and accused of crimes they did not commit. Women are often detained during group arrests and accused of being the girlfriends of a criminal, and accomplices to criminal acts, without solid evidence to support the allegations. The targeting of women seems to be part of a strategy to increase the number of arrests in order to boost figures and show society that the government’s security efforts are yielding results.

The women subjected to such violence are mostly young and from low-income backgrounds. The multiple and intersecting discrimination these women face as a result of their gender, age, and socio-economic situation, increases their risk of being arbitrarily arrested and tortured or ill-treated. For example, many women arrested and imprisoned are single parents and face discrimination simply for not conforming to widely accepted gender expectations, such as having a male partner.. Sex workers, who are in many cases not only living in poverty but also often single parents, are also at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment during arrest or while in detention. The socio-economic conditions of many of these women often limit their ability to access effective remedies once they are arbitrarily arrested or detained.

How can you help?

Here are a few ways for you to help free Verónica Razo.

1. TAKE ACTION: Email the Attorney General of Mexico, Dr. Raúl Cervantes, to withdraw all charges against Verónica so that she is released from prison immediately and investigate the police officers responsible for her detention and torture and bring them to justice.

2. Increase the public pressure on the Attorney General and Tweet on behalf of Verónica asking for her release. Tweeit to @raul_cervantes and @PGR_mx using the hashtag #VeronicaLibre

A few samples you can use are:

· 6 years, no sentence. We can’t wait any longer! Free Verónica Razo. #Verónicalibre

· Verónica: Survivor of Sexual torture and locked up with no evidence and no sentence. Free Verónica now! #Verónicalibre

· @raul_cervantes it’s been 6 years since Verónica is in prison with no sentence. We can’t wait any longer #VeronicaLibre #Stoptorture

TAKE ACTION NOW AND HELP US FREE VERONICA! #VERONICALIBRE