Target: Arely Gómez González, Federal Attorney General
Goal: Free a wrongly-accused and tortured man from prison.
For over two years, Adrián Vasquez Lagunes has been imprisoned and tortured by police for a crime he did not commit. Now the state has brought torture charges against three of the officers involved in his maltreatment, but Adrián Vasquez remains in prison. Sign the petition and demand that he be freed immediately.
Vasquez was arrested by police while driving in Tijuana. Within twelve hours of his arrest, he had been “threatened, beaten, and nearly asphyxiated,” Amnesty International reports. He was accused of trafficking drugs–he was falsely identified as a drug kingpin operating in the area–and police photographed him with drugs and weapons he claims were planted. His neighbors observed him being beaten by police during a search of his home.
Regardless, Vasquez was brought before the Attorney General and charged with drug and weapons related offenses after police testified that he had been driving a stolen vehicle at the time of his arrest and had freely confessed to trafficking drugs. Shortly thereafter, Vasquez required surgery to save his life after the torture he received at the hands of the police.
In the intervening years, the real trafficker was caught and tried. Vasquez’s lawyer proved that the car he had been driving at the time of his arrest was not stolen. The only pieces of evidence remaining against Vasquez are the firearms that were planted on him during his arrest. Despite this, he remains in prison–even though three of the officers who arrested him have been charged with torture.
While prosecuting the officers who tortured Vasquez is a step in the right direction–it is the first instance of torture charges being brought against police in Baja California, which is known for its mistreatment of detainees–it is meaningless as long as an innocent man remains in prison. Sign the petition and demand the immediate release of Adrián Vasquez Lagunes.
Dear Attorney General González,
I am writing to demand the immediate release of Adrián Vasquez Lagunes, an innocent man who has spent more than two years in jail where he has been subjected to unconscionable and numerous instances of torture and ill-treatment, some of which required life-saving surgery. It is unacceptable that he remains in jail even after nearly all of the evidence against him has been proven false. I urge you to release him immediately and bring those responsible for his gross mistreatment to justice.
Police claimed that at the time of his arrest, Vasquez was driving a stolen vehicle and freely admitted to being not just a drug trafficker, but a kingpin authorities had been after for some time. He was photographed with weapons and drugs and charged with a number of related offenses.
However, this narrative leaves out a number of key facts in Vasquez’s story. For starters, his lawyer has proven that the car he was driving was not stolen. The testimonies of neighbors who witnessed Vasquez being beaten by police while his house was searched were never addressed. And most chilling of all, Vasquez had to be rushed to the hospital for life-saving surgery not long after charges were officially brought against him. The cause of his ill health? The torture he’d suffered at the hands of the police.
It is clear now that Vasquez is innocent. The only pieces of evidence against him that haven’t disintegrated are the photographs of him with weapons, which he has always maintained were planted on him at the time of his arrest. The real kingpin Vasquez was mistaken for has been arrested, and three of the officers involved in his arrest and imprisonment have been charged with torture. Yet Vasquez remains behind bars.
It is the duty of the state to ensure that justice is done. I therefore demand that the charges against Vasquez be dropped and that he be released immediately. Furthermore, I call upon the state to fully investigate and bring to justice anyone involved in Vasquez’s ill-treatment, whether they actually carried out such heinous acts or simply failed to report or stop them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Barnellbe via Wikimedia Commons