Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday he would consider drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s request to serve his sentence in Mexico, claiming he suffered “mental torment” in prison, where he was held in the United States States is imprisoned.
“Let’s check it out [o pedido]. When it comes to human rights, there are ways and there are international bodies,” said the Mexican President at his regular press conference.
López Obrador shared that the request, which was forwarded to the Mexican Ambassador in Washington by El Chapo’s attorney, José Refugio Rodríguez, has already been received by the State Department.
“We just have to see […] when we have the opportunity, when we have the power, but the door must always remain open when it comes to human rights,” added López Obrador.
The Mexican representative’s statement contradicts statements made yesterday by Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard, who indicated that he saw no way of complying with the request given that the former Sinaloa cartel leader had already been convicted in the United States.
Attorney Rodríguez confirmed to AFP that the goal is for El Chapo “to return to Mexico to face trial on pending criminal cases” and his sentence in accordance with a criminal treaty between Mexico and the United States at a local to serve prison.
The defense attorney added that he would officially submit the written application to the MRE “in the next few weeks,” but noted that López Obrador had “already advanced” to investigate the case.
“We will submit everything for review,” said Rodríguez.
In addition, he told local television station Milenio that the fact that El Chapo escaped Mexican prisons twice, in 2001 and 2015, was not a “limiting” factor in requesting the transfer.
Rodríguez claims the client suffers from harsh prison conditions, such as isolation from other inmates, an inability to communicate in Spanish, and has not “seen the sun” in six years.
El Chapo’s request comes after Mexican authorities arrested on January 5 Ovidio Guzmán, one of the sons and heirs of part of the criminal empire, in an operation that left 29 people dead.
Guzmán was found guilty in the United States of drug trafficking, money laundering and use of firearms. In July 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison, which he is serving at ADX Florence Maximum Security Prison in the mountainous Colorado desert.