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These Unusual Requests from El Chapo Worry US Authorities

For two and a half years, the Mexican drug baron Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán lives in isolation, almost without any means of communication with the outside world.

While Guzman reported symptoms of “mental fatigue” and “sleep deprivation”, as well as “daily headaches and ear pain,” his defense team made several requests to District Judge Brian Cogan. at the beginning of the month: two hours of outdoor exercise per week, access to the canteen, an authorization to buy six bottles of water a week and earplugs.

“This deprivation of sun and fresh air, over an excessive period of 27 months, causes psychological scars. These are cruel conditions in violation of the Eighth Amendment, “El Chapo’s lawyers said in a letter to the judge.

Federal prosecutors are not convinced and fear an escape attempt. According to new court documents obtained by the Washington Post, the government has rejected his claims that it is a ploy to escape from prison or silence witnesses.

According to the Government, “The size of the accused’s cell, the parameters of his window, the presence of phantom music and the television programming available to the accused during his daily exercise hour” are not ” constitutional concerns “.

In addition, the utensils bought at the canteen are considered dangerous for the detainees since they can be used as weapons, argues the prosecutor.

Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzman’s defense team lawyers, called the prosecutor’s response “hysterical”.

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The famous prisoner has not committed any offense since his arrest, he explained. “But now, just because he asks for a bottle of water and fresh air, he is accused of trying to escape despite the lack of evidence.”

In February, federal prosecutors obtained a conviction against the Sinaloa cartel leader for leading the drug smuggling business. During the three-month trial, witnesses – including his former bodyguard – testified about horrific murders ordered and executed by Guzman. On one occasion, he allegedly shot a rival member of the cartel and buried the living victim.

Guzmán, 61, faces several life sentences; he will be sentenced to the Federal Court on June 25. Before that, the government had demanded that Guzmán be placed in restrictive detention.

“I expect the Prisons Office to be concerned about El Chapo’s access to communications; his phone calls, e-mails and letters will probably be monitored more closely, “said Deborah Golden, a lawyer at the Washington Post’s Human Rights Defense Center in February. Indeed, the conviction of Guzmán gave rise to numerous speculations that he would be detained at the ADX, the administrative super-maximum prison of Florence, Colo.

Guzman’s requests are scrutinized because he escaped from prison in the past. He escaped from two high-security Mexican jails – in 2001 with the help of prison guards and in 2015 through a tunnel in the shower in his cell.

“An escape by the roof, helicopter or any other related means would be elementary in comparison,” wrote the prosecutor in his response to the court.

Mr. Guzmán is not allowed to receive unsupervised phone calls or to receive mail, “says Lichtman, and his lawyers are the only people he can communicate with.

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Written by How Africa

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