Deaths in the Esteban Echeverría police station are a focus of the National System for the Prevention of Torture

The National System’s annual assembly analyzed the grave humanitarian situation in places of confinement and demanded justice for the victims of a fire in Police Station 3 of Esteban Echeverría, Buenos Aires province. Participants included representatives of the judicial branch and civil society, as well as family members of victims.

For the first time, the annual assembly of the National System for the Prevention of Torture was held, having been convened by the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the Federal Council of Local Mechanisms and with the participation of civil society organizations and members of public defenders’ and public prosecutors’ offices, judges and other bodies involved in the prevention of torture.

One of the gathering’s main focuses was what occurred in November in Police Station 3 of Esteban Echeverría, where ten people who had been illegally detained there were killed in a blaze. Elías Soto, Miguel Ángel Sánchez, Jeremías Rodríguez, Jorge Ramírez, Eduardo Ocampo, Juan Bautista Lavarda, Juan Carlos Fernández, Walter Barrios, Carlos Ariel Corvera and Fernando Argüello were all in the custody of the state. The assembly underscored the need to investigate and sanction those responsible, and to implement measures that guarantee the non-repetition of such incidents.

The assembly took place in the Conti Cultural Center located in the Memory and Human Rights Space, site of the notorious former School of Naval Mechanics (ESMA). Participants were divided into commissions in order to make an assessment regarding the places that the National System for the Prevention of Torture has within its orbit. Among the issues debated were childhood, mental health, prisons, police stations and police violence.

The assembly’s conclusions pointed to the humanitarian crisis that exists in the country’s places of confinement and the need for the national Committee against Torture, which was created one year ago, to work arduously on the protection of people deprived of their liberty, to put a stop to these grave human rights violations.