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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                

Republic of Paraguay

Illegal detention by police and torture during incarceration still occur. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and mistreatment are serious problems in the country’s prisons.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Paraguay

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Paraguay.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Paraguay

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 3 August 2021]


The Attorney General’s Office obtained convictions of three police officers charged in 2017 with human rights violations, specifically bodily injury perpetrated by security forces. The charges against police officers Benito Sanabria, Jorge Ramirez Bogarin, and Fernando Aguero Benitez stemmed from police response to 2017 antigovernment protests in Asuncion. The convictions resulted in sentences ranging from two and one-half years to nine years in prison.

The semi-independent National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NMPT) alleged that unidentified Coast Guard sailors committed torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of 35 civilians in Ciudad del Este on the night of July 15. The sailors allegedly committed physical and psychological abuses, including threats of death, in responding to the killing of a fellow sailor by narcotics traffickers earlier that evening. The alleged torture took place both in the San Miguel neighborhood of Ciudad del Este and at the Ciudad del Este East Naval Area Base, where the Coast Guard unit was stationed. The NMPT concluded torture likely occurred and recommended a national-level investigation.


Prison and detention center conditions were harsh and at times life threatening due to inmate violence, mistreatment, overcrowding, poorly trained staff, poor infrastructure, and unsanitary living conditions.

Physical Conditions: According to the NMPT, prisons were overcrowded, with inmates at some facilities forced to share bunks, sleep on floors, and sleep in shifts.

Prisons and juvenile facilities generally lacked adequate temperature control systems, of particular concern during hot summer months. Some prisons had cells with inadequate lighting. At times prisoners were confined for long periods without an opportunity for exercise. Some prisons lacked basic medical care. Adherence to fire prevention norms was lacking.


Pretrial Detention: The law permits detention without trial for a period equivalent to the minimum sentence associated with the alleged crime, a period that could range from six months to five years. Some detainees were held in pretrial detention beyond the maximum allowed time.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 13 May 2020]

IS THERE AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY? -- The judiciary is nominally independent, but money laundering, drug trafficking and other criminal operations have been able to co-opt or otherwise assert control over local judicial authorities, particularly in regions adjacent to Brazil. Politicians commonly attempt to influence judges and prosecutors.

DOES DUE PROCESS PREVAIL IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL MATTERS? - Constitutional guarantees of due process are poorly upheld, largely due to corruption that permeates the judicial system. Individuals with political or societal influence or access to money are frequently able to obtain favorable treatment in the justice system.

In May 2017, an appeals court upheld the 2016 prison sentences against 11 campesinos involved in the deadly 2012 clash between farmers and police in Curuguaty, after landless farmers occupied private land; six officers and 11 campesinos were killed. In August, the controversial rulings, which activists say were handed down following flawed legal procedures, were brought before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Meanwhile, evictions of campesino communities continued during the year.

IS THERE PROTECTION FROM THE ILLEGITIMATE USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE AND FREEDOM FROM WAR AND INSURGENCIES? - Paraguay is one of the region’s safer countries. However, the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), a radical socialist guerilla group, kidnapped at least two people in 2017. Gang warfare takes place along the Brazilian border. Illegal detention by police and torture during incarceration still occur. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and mistreatment are serious problems in the country’s prisons.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/PRY/CO/4-6 (2011)

[accessed 5 March 2013]

Fundamental legal safeguards

11. The Committee is concerned that many of the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty, including minors, as set out in Paraguayan legislation, are not observed in practice. In particular, the Committee expresses concern at the lack of mechanisms to give effect to the right of persons deprived of their liberty to legal assistance from the very start of detention and to independent medical examinations, and their right to notify a relative or trusted individual of their detention and to be informed of their rights and the grounds for arrest at the time of detention. With regard to habeas corpus, the Committee is concerned by information it has received that habeas corpus petitions can take 30 days to be resolved. As regards medical examinations at the start of detention, the Committee is concerned that these are not routinely carried out and that they take place in the presence of police officers. It is also concerned by reports that persons deprived of liberty are held in police custody for long periods without being properly registered and that a large number of police stations do not, in practice, comply with the rules on registration procedures for detainees. In general, the Committee expresses concern at the statement by the delegation from the State party that there are problems with the nationwide implementation of Decision No. 176/2010 of the Office of the National Police Commander, ordering the introduction of a registration system in police stations (arts. 2, 11 and 12).

Impunity for acts of torture and ill-treatment

18. The Committee is concerned about the numerous and consistent allegations of torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, in particular by police officers. The Committee regrets the lack of any consolidated statistics on complaints of torture, investigations and the penalties handed down during the period covered by the State party’s report. The Committee takes note of the statistics provided in the State party’s report concerning disciplinary proceedings against police officers; however, it notes that the statistics do not indicate how many of those cases have been brought to court. The Committee is also concerned that, according to the information provided in the State party’s report, during 2009 there were only nine complaints of torture in the State party’s prisons. The Committee considers that the figures do not tally with the persistent allegations and extensive documentation received from other sources concerning cases of torture and ill- treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. The Committee is further concerned by the limited effectiveness of police monitoring and supervision mechanisms and the lack of compensation and rehabilitation services for victims of torture and ill-treatment (arts. 2, 12– 14 and 16).

Conditions of detention and use of pretrial detention

19. The Committee is concerned about the habitual and widespread use of pretrial detention, which may undermine the right to presumption of innocence, rather than non- custodial measures. The Committee is also concerned by the failure to respect the maximum legal period for pretrial detention and by the existence in the State party of legislation that restricts the possibility of using alternatives to preventive detention. The Committee is especially concerned by the extensive use of pretrial detention for children aged between 16 and 18 years. The Committee notes with concern the abundant information received from various sources on the deplorable material conditions in many of the State party’s police stations and prisons, the overcrowding in them, the inadequate medical services and the almost complete lack of activities for persons deprived of their liberty. In particular, the Committee is concerned about the material conditions in the psychiatric ward of the national prison in Tacumbu and the lack of specialized medical attention provided to the prisoners housed there. The Committee is further concerned about allegations of discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the State party’s prisons, including discrimination in allowing private visits from partners. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the arbitrary use of solitary confinement as a punishment in the State party’s prisons (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

Statements obtained under duress

20. The Committee expresses its concern at reports that, in spite of the provisions of article 90 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibiting the use of force by the police to obtain a statement from a detained person, in practice the police continue to obtain statements by torture or ill-treatment. The Committee is concerned that the courts of the State party occasionally use such statements as evidence. The Committee is also concerned by the lack of information relating to officials who have been tried and punished for having obtained statements in this way (arts. 2, 4, 10 and 15).


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


In October, a Selection Committee was established to appoint members to the National Mechanism to Prevent Torture. However, members had not been appointed by the end of the year.


There were allegations that the justice system lacked impartiality and independence and that it was inadequately resourced. Delays in the administration of justice were reported.

There were allegations that some of those held in the context of the Curuguaty clashes were tortured. No investigation into these allegations was known to have been initiated by the end of the year.


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 10 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary, under the influence of the ruling party and the military, is highly corrupt.            Courts are inefficient and political interference in the judiciary is a serious problem, with politicians routinely pressuring judges and blocking investigations. While the judiciary is nominally independent, 62 percent of judges are members of the Colorado party. In August 2008, a court cleared former general Lino Oviedo of existing assassination charges, which permitted him to compete in the presidential elections and led to allegations of political involvement in judicial decision-making. The constitution permits detention without trial until the accused has completed the minimum sentence for the alleged crime. Illegal detention by police and torture during incarceration still occur, particularly in rural areas. Poorly paid and corrupt police officials remain in key posts. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and mistreatment of inmates are serious problems in the country’s prisons; the prison population is currently at 179 percent capacity.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such practices, there were reports that some government officials continued to employ them. The Paraguay Human Rights Coordinating Board (CODEHUPY)--a group of 32 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civic organizations, and trade unions--reported several cases of police torture and other abusive treatment of persons, including women and children, designed to extract confessions, punish escape attempts, or intimidate detainees.

Marcial Martinez Amarilla, a member of the Popular Rural Campesino Organization, stated that, on March 31, police in Valle Pe, Guaira Department, entered his home, forcibly apprehended him without a warrant for his arrest, and tortured him for three hours on suspicion of cattle theft. The case remained under investigation at year's end.

On December 29, police detained Juan Carlos Silvero Medina in San Juan Nepomuceno, Caazapa Department, where he was held for more than 10 hours for allegedly disturbing the peace and severely beaten.

There were no developments in the case of Ramon Benitez Irala, who claimed in July 2004 that he was shot when policemen raided his home and was refused treatment for eight days.

The law allows the human rights ombudsman to investigate and seek monetary compensation in cases of human rights abuses stemming from the 1954-89 Stroessner regime. Since his appointment in 2001, the ombudsman has ruled that 805 of 1,728 victims who filed petitions were entitled to compensation and awards ranging from $583 to $17,500 (3.5 to 105 million guaranies). More than 400 victims (and/or family members) either already received payments or were due to receive payments, according to the ombudsman. Since 1993, 3,583 human rights cases have been filed, predominantly stemming from the Stroessner era. Although the Truth and Justice Commission continued to investigate and document human rights abuses between 1954 and October 2004, a tight budget constrained its progress.

On June 15, government officials, NGOs, and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) released a report documenting accusations of torture and ill-treatment of conscripts in the cities of Altos, Cordillera Department; Ciudad del Este, Alto Parana Department; and Mariscal Estigarribia, Boqueron Department. On August 25, armed forces commander, General Jose Kanazawa, apologized for past mistreatment committed by military personnel under his command.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Paraguay",, [accessed <date>]