In a virtual daily ritual in Mexico accused drug traffickers and assassins, shackled and bruised from beatings, are paraded before the news media to show that the nation is winning its drug war. Once the television lights dim, about three-quarters of them are let go, the Associated Press reports.
As President Felipe Calderon’s government touts its arrest record, cases built by prosecutors and police under pressure to make swift captures unravel from lack of evidence. Innocent people are tortured into confessing. The guilty are freed, only to be hauled in again for other crimes. Records obtained by the AP showed that the government arrested 226,667 drug suspects between December 2006 and September 2009. Under a quarter of that number were charged. Only 15 percent saw a verdict; the Mexican attorney general’s office won’t say how many of those were guilty.