Amnesty International on Wednesday slammed Mexico's human rights record, saying the number of political prisoners and human rights abuses had risen sharply during the rule of President Ernesto Zedillo.
"There is a human rights crisis in Mexico today. . . . We are deeply concerned about the serious deterioration over the last three years," Pierre Sane, secretary-general of the human rights group, said at a news conference.
Amnesty said it verified in 1997 hundreds of arbitrary detentions, widespread torture, more than 40 extrajudicial executions, several forced disappearances and the failure to punish government officials accused of violations.
Sane also accused the government of ignoring beatings and three killings of journalists this year.
He blamed the human rights crisis on the army's growing police role and on what he called illegal tactics used against armed guerrilla movements that have emerged in recent years.