Amnesty International has asked to speak with imprisoned Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, over concerns that the conditions of his custody are “unnecessarily harsh.”
The 59-year-old, who is currently in custody in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Corrections Center. reportedly spends the majority of his days in solitary confinement and has little to no access to exercise and visitations, a letter from the human rights organization indicated.
“We are concerned the conditions imposed on Guzman appear to be unnecessarily harsh and breach international standards for human treatment,” Justin Mazzola, the deputy director of research, for Amnesty International said in a letter sent to the Eastern District of New York U.S. attorney’s office.
Guzman’s court-appointed attorneys had indicated in a letter sent to Judge Brian Cogan on March 13th that the confinement he is subjected to at the prison is detrimental to his physical and mental health.
His lawyers maintain Guzman has difficulty breathing, suffers from a sore throat, headaches, and had been enduring auditory hallucinations – he complains of hearing music in his cell even when his radio is not on,
However, U.S. prosecutors reject those allegations, saying the drug lord is healthy and is learning English.
Mazzola said in his letter that Guzman has very restricted access to fresh air or sunlight, and has not been able to see his wife since he was extradited on January 19th.
His attorneys have revealed that he is locked in his cell 23 hours a day, but prosecutors say he should be after he escaped from prison on two occasions.
He’s only allowed exercise in a small cage, The Guardian reported.
Guzman, the infamous Sinaloa cartel’s leader, is accused in a 17-count indictment of running one of the world’s biggest drug organizations.
He broke out of a Mexican prison in 2001, was re-captured in 2014, then escaped from a maximum security prison through a tunnel the year after,
He was apprehended in January 2016 and extradited to the U.S. a year later.