Mexican authorities on Friday pledged major changes in the way criminal suspects are treated, citing an urgent need to improve a judiciary that’s suffering from rock-bottom conviction rates and wounded by public anger at the lack of a rule of law.
Starting immediately, Mexico’s Federal Police and military personnel will read a series of legal rights to suspects – including rights to know the charges against them, obtain free legal counsel and remain silent – from printed cards they carry with them.
The announcement by Undersecretary Eduardo Sanchez of the Interior Secretariat was another sign that President Enrique Pena Nieto is racing to distance himself from practices under the previous government, which left power Dec. 1.
Earlier this week, Sanchez told the quasi-official Notimex news agency that police no longer would put alleged gangsters on display in “perp walks” before banks of television cameras.
Nor would authorities post “most wanted” lists, allow news media to air raids in action or refer to gangsters by aliases, acts that critics said glorified the underworld.
"It is not acceptable, nor will it ever be under this government, that authorities conduct themselves in arbitrary ways that hurt society (or) lead to impunity and injustice,” Sanchez told a news conference. He added that law enforcement officials no longer would treat criminals in a way “for young people in our country to feel that it is attractive, or that criminal activities are a good way to develop socially.”