A shocking video surfaced on Youtube last week that shows what looks like Argentine police officers torturing male suspects in a courtyard (warning: video in above link contains graphic content). At one point in the video, one police officer places a plastic bag over a tethered male’s head and then proceeds to suffocate the victim after asking him questions which the victim cannot answer. Once the man falls to the floor from a lack of oxygen, the officer releases him and continues to ask questions. Another male suspect appears to be held in place with his arm raised up at the back of his body before he his doused with water.
The BBC reports that six policemen have been arrested in connection with the torture video. The video was taken while the officers were attempting to make progress in a drug case in the northern province of Salta.
Reports emphasize that the video footage was most likely taken last year and only surfaced recently. Argentina’s security minister has stated that these men do not represent the police force in the country. In his own words, “They are not policemen, they are criminals.”
Conversely, Maria del Carmen Verdu, part of a group that monitors police brutality in Argentina, says that this type of torture and interrogation is quite common. She told CNN:
Torture is a common tool which is applied constantly in many detention centers and even to suspects held at police station cells before their court appearance… We have been able to prove it multiple times in court through oral testimonies of the victims.
The video was apparently shot by one of the six policemen involved in the case but it is unclear who uploaded the damning footage to Youtube.
Incidents of torture like this ring close to home for many Argentinians. La Guerra Sucia, or the Dirty War, raged throughout Argentina between 1976 and 1983. It was a silent war waged under a military dictatorship in which thousands of Argentine citizens who were accused of opposing the government disappeared and were never heard from again.
Two of the leaders of the military government were charged this month with crimes against humanity after it was proven they had stolen infants from incarcerated mothers who were often tortured and killed after the birth. Torture videos such as these threaten to resurrect feelings of uncertainty and fear for citizens today.
Photo Credit: Deepraj