Some police in Mexico still use torture to extract confessions and information from suspects, though the practice remains less frequent than a decade ago, the country's National Human Rights Commission said Tuesday.
Commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said officials have received 12 reports of torture so far this year, down from 21 in 2004. But there were only seven reported cases in 2003 and nine the year before that.
Those numbers represent a significant drop from a bit more than a decade ago, however. In 1990, for instance, officials received 227 torture complaints, while documenting 576 a year later and 492 in 1992.
Soberanes said officials had not confirmed any concrete instance of torture this year, but that the commission was still investigating all dozen cases.
"The CNDH remains emphatic that torture has not disappeared in our country," Soberanes said, referring to the commission by its Spanish initials. "It continues to be a grave affront to legality and human rights."
Soberanes said most of the reported torture cases involved people wrongfully imprisoned by police or government security forces.
Victims have reported being beaten, kicked and hit over the head and in the genitals with objects including wooden paddles, Soberanes said.
Other cases have involved near-asphyxiation using plastic bags pulled over a victim's head. Some said they had water or gasoline poured in their mouths, noses and ears. The use of electric shocks, cigarette burns and sexual violence have also been reported, he said.
Complaints of psychological torture, including death threats, have also been documented, he said, though they were not as common.
The rights commission urged authorities to take steps to limit arbitrary arrests. It also call for interrogation sessions and other interactions between suspects and authorities be taped or conducted in front of witnesses to discourage acts of violence, reported AP. P.T.