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Mexican soldiers accused of torturing American

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Mexican soldiers accused of torturing American

El Paso man freed after two-year ordeal

  • olivier.brisson/Flickr

Accusations of police or soldiers in Mexico torturing and wrongfully imprisoning suspects are so common that they rarely make news.

But it does make a splash when the alleged victim of the abuse is American.

Shohn Huckabee, a 24-year old from El Paso, was released from prison after almost two years when the U.S. Justice Department determined that he had been tortured in Mexican custody.

Huckabee was arrested in Ciudad Juarez in December, 2009 by Mexican soldiers, who claimed he was carrying marijuana in his truck — a charge Huckabee denies.

Huckabee says soldiers then took him to a military base, hit him with rifle butts, gave him electric shocks and threatened him with death.

A Mexican court sentenced Huckabee and fellow American detainee Carlos Quijas Ruiz to five years for drug trafficking and sent him to the violent Tuna prison.

"The Mexican Federal Police came in and searched us and would steal all of our belongings and beat us for no reason. They'd take all of our clothes off on the basketball court while it's raining and leave us there for three hours," Huckabee said of the prison in an interview with KTSM news channel 9 in El Paso.

However, following a campaign by family and friends he was eventually transferred to an American jail under a bilateral agreement.

The ruling by the Justice Department's Parole Commission that he had been tortured and should be released was issued on Dec. 1, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The case raises further questions about Mexico’s military crackdown on drug cartels, which has already come under fire from human rights groups for accusations of torture and murder.

The United States government has supported the Mexican military with training and hardware, including Black Hawk helicopters and surveillance drones to fight the cartels.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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