Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman: Is the moustachioed drug lord calling the shots in Mexico's highest-security prison?
Reports say the head of the Sinaloa Cartel organised a five-day hunger strike to protest at poor hygiene, medical care and food
Sunday 31 August 2014
Lawyers who visit their clients in the Altiplano, Mexico's highest-security prison, say they must leave behind their wallets, pens, tie clips, shoelaces. They complain that guards even check inside their underwear and female lawyers must take off their bras.
Those prisoners in solitary confinement, such as the jail's most famous inmate, drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, are said to be under constant surveillance and receive just one hour of daily caged-in recreational time.
So the news last month that Guzman had organised nearly 1,000 prisoners to hold a five-day hunger strike to protest at the prison's poor hygiene, medical care and food seemed curious. Not just that the world's most fearsome drug lord was now apparently a human rights crusader, but that he had the freedom of movement and communications to pull it off.
According to sources familiar with the prison, however, Guzman is given preferential treatment: while other prisoners are forced to shave, he's been allowed to keep his moustache.
That Guzman is in prison at all is a victory for the Mexican government. He had escaped from incarceration once before, in 2001, and his legend grew as he led the Sinaloa Cartel, the multi-billion-dollar drug-trafficking operation. Guzman was once reported to be worth $1bn.
In February, a team of Mexican marine commandos burst into his Mazatlan condo and snatched him. After being briefly marched before a press conference in Mexico City, Guzman was taken to the Altiplano and out of public view.
According to lawyers, former inmates, relatives and others, life at Altiplano is hard, with dirty cells, not enough blankets and a lack of medicine. "There is mould, they get sick, it's cold, they don't take care of them," said a lawyer, who declined to give his name to preserve his access to the prison.
Mexican officials have confirmed that the hunger strike in mid-July took place, but denied that Guzman participated. "There is no way that [he] could participate, because [he is] totally isolated," an official said.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...