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Montevideo, October 3rd 2023 - 03:36 UTC



Abuse within Paraguayan Military Academy reported

Monday, July 11th 2022 - 20:55 UTC
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Even members of the cadets' families have been reported to receive death threats Even members of the cadets' families have been reported to receive death threats

Just weeks after two cases of abuses within Argentina's Army surfaced, Paraguay's National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (MNPT) Monday confirmed the cruel treatment of cadets at the Francisco Solano López Military Academy (Academil) was common practice.

Slang terms such as “the 25th hour” and other punishments await those wishing to graduate. Cadets are even reported to stay hungry and not to use the restrooms before 11 pm so as not to upset their superiors.

According to the MNPT document, which was drafted following several complaints from victims and their families, 16.98% of the 56 people interviewed reported having suffered beatings as physical punishment for real or alleged faults and 65% admitted to having witnessed another cadet being beaten, while 45.5% acknowledged they had been subjected to the torture method known as “the tripod,” which consists of leaning on the floor with the head for hours and forming an arc with the legs, without the support of the hands. Although Academil's regulations expressly prohibit the use of tripods as physical punishment, 20% confirmed having suffered this type of punishment.

“The commanders incite mistreatment, they don't do it, but they incite officers and [higher ranking cadets] to do it and they see it done. The officers and everyone knows at what time it happens and they do nothing,” the report highlights.

Interviewees (63% of them) also said they eat dinner very at 7.30 pm and continue with activities until late, which makes them hungry. “Some senior cadets even sell sandwiches,” one of the victims was quoted as saying.

At 10 pm cadets carry out activities they could not do during the day, such as washing their clothes, studying, and even doing their physiological needs or getting some rest.

The 25th hour begins at 11 pm when there are no officers around and senior cadets take command. A father of one of the victims had denounced that during that hour, senior cadets subject the rest to torture such as putting a bag over their heads, making them sleep with wet clothes, beating them, sending them to make tripods, or putting wood between their fingers and toes to then squeeze them.

Maltreatment may also include isolation and excessive physical activities. Cadets are deprived of their days off. “One was made to lie down and get up from the floor 1,500 times for not knowing the name of the corps commander,” one interviewee told the authors of the report. Some cadets are also made to exercise until they vomit.

As for humiliating treatment, 38.46% said they were insulted or humiliated, even in the presence of other people. They also referred to having seen other people being beaten and insulted inside the academy.

The report also describes various forms of physical punishment and torture as well as the Academil slang names they are known by. Punishments are usually earned through far-fetched interpretations of the length of the hair or the folding of the handkerchief, among other facts.

Depriving cadets of their days off is widely used despite its psychological implications and is accepted as a natural thing, as are verbal abuse, shouting, humiliation, and threats in order to intimidate a person, causing fear and anguish. “They locked him in the bathroom and denigrated him and they were not going to let him go until he cried,” a witness said. Family members have received death threats too.

The affected cadets avoid going to the health service for treatment of their injuries, as this is seen as a weakness even by the health service and a sort of law of silence prevails, according to the report.

The report was drafted by the Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, with inter-institutional support from the Human Rights Committee of both Houses of Congress.

(Source: Ultima Hora)

Categories: Politics, Paraguay.
Tags: torture.

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