Arbitrary detention is an everyday occurrence in Mexico and is very often the starting point for persistent serious human rights violations such as torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. Consequently, the study of arbitrary and illegal detention – a form of deprivation of liberty that can affect anyone – also helps inform an analysis of the conditions that facilitate other human rights violations.
This research analyses the way in which police forces in Mexico carry out arrests,1 in particular in cases where the authorities allege that an individual was caught red-handed; that is, in the act of committing a crime (in flagrante delicto).
Amnesty International’s research found that in Mexico the arrest of people allegedly while they were in the act of committing a crime is not a genuine response aimed at dealing with crime. Rather, it is a means used illegally by the authorities to target those who have historically faced discrimination, in particular young men living in poverty.