Friday, July 4, 2008

León Torture Trainers Identified

The leaders of a torture training course provided to León municipal police's Special Tactics Group (GET in its Spanish initials) have been unofficially identified by León mayor Vicente Guerrero Reynoso as Britain Jerry Wilson and Cuban-Mexican Gerardo Arrechea. Mayor Guerrero Reynoso refused to identify the company through which they were contracted.

El Universal identified Arrechea as a black-belt karate instructor and head of the Free Fight Academy, which trains everyone from children to elite police forces and soldiers. The Academy offers a seminar in a defense combat tactics specially geared towards police and soldiers called
Palo-Cuchillo-Mano. Free Fight Academy has locations in the states of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, and Chiapas. However, El Universal could not confirm Jerry Wilson's affiliation with the Academy. Leon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero had previously told press that the trainers were from a US private security firm.

Guanajuato's local newspaper Correo reports that several sources say León's Secretary of Public Security, Alvar Cabeza de Vaca, contracted Wilson and Arrechea to train the GET. The GET was created in 1995 after President Felipe Calderón's right-wing National Action Party (PAN in its Spanish initials) won control of the León government. León Mayor Guerrero Reynoso confirmed to La Jornada that during all four subsequent PAN administrations GET officers have received training similar to that shown in the leaked videos.

Arrechea and Wilson continued their regularly-scheduled training with León police on Tuesday, July 1, the day videos of their torture training program were leaked. However, after much pressure from state and federal public officials, Mayor Guerrero Reynoso reneged on his defiant commitment to continue the trainings and begrudgingly announced that he will suspend the trainings.
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