MEXICO CITY – A lawyer for Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera said Monday he will argue that his client has been the victim of torture.
Attorney José Refugio Rodríguez said the convicted Sinaloa cartel boss’ legal team has submitted evidence of alleged abusive treatment of Guzmán Loera in prison.
“Cruel and unusual treatment is torture,” Rodríguez said.
Guzman Loera’s lawyers have complained in the past that he is not being allowed to sleep, mix with other prisoners or receive enough visits. They said that caused him anxiety and elevated his blood pressure to dangerous levels.
The government says special security measures are needed following Guzmán Loera’s escape from the maximum-security Altiplano prison near Mexico City in 2015, when he fled through a mile-long tunnel dug to the floor of his shower. That was his second prison break.
After Guzmán Loera was recaptured in January, prison authorities woke him every few hours for head counts but later softened that security procedure.
Lawyers have filed appeals seeking to prevent Guzmán Loera’s extradition to the United States, where he faces drug-trafficking, money-laundering, weapons and murder charges.
A hearing on those appeals was expected later Monday, but Rodríguez said the torture allegations are not part of that.
Guzmán Loera is currently being held in a federal prison on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez, which borders El Paso, Texas.