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Mexico: Torture survivor needs COVID-19 support

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 18:11

    Adrián Vasquez Lagunes holds an Amnesty report during a visit to him in “El Hongo” prison by an AI delegation, September 2014. ©Amnesty International


    Adrián Vasquez Lagunes was diagnosed with COVID-19 at his home on 16 June. He survived torture and three years’ unjust imprisonment in Tijuana (northern Mexico). The authorities have failed to provide him with the reparation mandated by the Baja California State Human Rights and Citizen Protection Ombudsman’s Office in 2015. Amnesty International insists that authorities urgently ensure that Adrián Vasquez receives health and social security coverage, an emergency fund, and that his full reparation package is finalized urgently. 

    Please send a letter, email, tweet or phone call to the Governor.

    • Draw to his attention the diagnosis of COVID-19 that Adrián Vasquez Lagunes received on 16 June.
    • Remind the governor about the torture he suffered at the hands of Baja California police in 2012 which left him with chronic injuries in his ribs and lungs.
    • Explain that the injuries make him more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. 
    • Deplore the lack of reparation awarded by the government to date and outline how his work as a public transport and uber driver place him and his family in a precarious economic situation to cover any medical and livelihood costs. 
    • Call on the governor to urgently ensure immediate economic support and health care coverage for Adrián Vasquez and his family and ensure that his full reparation package is finalized without delay. 

    Write to

    Jaime Bonilla Valdez
    Governor of the state of Baja California
    Edificio del Poder Ejecutivo, 3er. Piso 
    Calzada Independencia No. 994 
    Centro Cívico 
    Mexicali B.C. 21000, Mexico
    Phone:        011 52 686 558 1000 
    Twitter:    @Jaime_BonillaV
    Salutation:    Dear Governor

    Please copy

    His Excellency Juan José Ignacio Gómez Camacho
    Ambassador for Mexico
    45 O'Connor Street, Suites 1000 & 1030
    Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A4
    Fax:         613 235 9123
    Phone:        613 233 8988  or  613 233 9272
    Twitter:    @EmbaMexCan

    The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    111 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
    Postage:    None required
    Fax:         613 996 9607
    Phone:        613 992 5234


    Additional information

    Adrián Vasquez Lagunes was detained by state police while driving in Tijuana on 26 September 2012. During the 12 hours that he remained in police custody, he was subjected to threats, beatings, and near-asphyxiation, including by forcing water into his nose. Police then presented him to the media, declaring that he was a known drug trafficker. Adrián spent three years in prison on false charges. He was released from prison and acquitted of charges in December 2015, after Amnesty International campaigned on his case.

    Seven and a half years after his detention, comprehensive reparation for his case is urgently necessary. It should be noted that, as part of the obligation to compensate victims comprehensively, the United Nations Committee Against Torture has recommended that compensation for cases of torture must be prompt, just, and adequate. However, Adrián and his family have been forced to live in precarious economic conditions as the State of Baja California has failed to fulfil Recommendation No. 15/15, issued on 5 May 2015 by the then Human Rights and Citizen Protection Ombudsman’s Office, (now the State Commission on Human Rights), which stipulated that authorities should compensate him without delay.

    The State Human Rights Commission of Baja California had a meeting with Adrián and his family on 12 June in which they said that they would take urgent action to get Adrian and his family enrolled in the public health social security system, the INSABI. Adrián currently has no access to free or low-cost health services and his four children lack support. One of them has down syndrome and has special needs which impose extra economic difficulty for the family. 

    The Baja California government´s prior administration had multiple meetings with Adrián and his family and reached provisional agreements. However, they continued to cite administrative details for not advancing with the reparation. The authorities had explored the possibility of making operational some provisional economic support for Adrián while the full reparation package was finalized but this provisional and emergency economic support has not materialized. The current governor took office in December 2019 and has not taken concrete steps to promote actions on these commitments.  

    If you want Updates on this case, send your request to with “Keep me updated on Adrián Vasquez Lagunes” in the subject line.