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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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

Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Prisons are over capacity, and conditions in many facilities are inadequate.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Uruguay

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Uruguay.  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.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Uruguay

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

[accessed 11 August 2021]


The constitution and law prohibit such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

Impunity for security forces was not a significant problem.


Prison and detention center conditions were poor and inhuman in several facilities due to overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, inadequate medical care, inadequate socioeducational programming, and high levels of violence among inmates.

Certain prisons lacked hygiene, sufficient access to water, sufficient or satisfactory food, and adequate socioeducational and labor activities. Prisoners sometimes spent 23 hours of the day in their cell, and several inmates remained in their cells for weeks or even months. Inmates were sometimes exposed to electrical, sanitary, and other risks due to poor infrastructure. In July a fire in a prison cell left six inmates injured, but the cause of the fire was unknown.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


Prisons are over capacity, and conditions in many facilities are inadequate.

Uruguay: Law protecting police and military torture suspects must be annulled

Amnesty International AI, Press Releases, 19 October 2009

[accessed 13 Feb 2014]

[accessed 31 August 2016]

A law in Uruguay that has allowed the police and military to get away with torture and murder should be annulled, Amnesty International said today, as the country prepares to vote in a referendum on the future of the law.

The law -- Ley de Caducidad de la Pretencion Punitiva del Estado, or Expiry Law – prevents the prosecution of police and military officials for crimes committed until 1985, covering the eleven-year period of military and civilian rule when thousands of cases of torture and many disappearances were documented.

Ninety-nine percent of political prisoners interviewed at the time by local human rights groups claimed they had been tortured. At its peak, the number of political prisoners held during the period reached 7000, according to estimates.

"This law was designed as a get-out-of-jail-free card for those who tortured, killed and disappeared people in Uruguay," said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. A/52/44, paras. 81-94 (1996)

[accessed 12 March 2013]

91. The Committee regrets the State party's delay in giving effect to the recommendations made during the consideration of Uruguay's initial report. The Committee is particularly concerned at the following:

(a) The continuing gaps in Uruguayan legislation which are impeding full implementation of the provisions of the Convention;

(b) The lack of a provision introducing a definition of the crime of torture into domestic law in terms compatible with article 1, paragraph 1, of the Convention;

(c) The persistence in Uruguayan law of provisions concerning obedience to a superior, which are incompatible with article 2, paragraph 3, of the Convention.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 20 January 2019]

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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 15 February 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and unlike last year, there were no reports that government officials employed them. The judicial and parliamentary branches of government are responsible for investigating specific allegations of abuse. Human rights groups reported that police sometimes mistreated detainees. Detainees rarely filed complaints, but the government investigated those complaints that were filed.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 15 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is relatively independent but has become increasingly inefficient in the face of escalating crime, particularly street violence and organized crime. The court system is severely backlogged, and pretrial detainees often spend more time in jail than they would if convicted of the offense in question and sentenced to the maximum prison term. Allegations of police mistreatment, particularly of youthful offenders, have increased. However, prosecutions of such acts are also occurring more frequently. Prisons, which are overcrowded, were at 128 percent capacity in 2008. Many prisoners rely on visitors for food, and medical care is substandard. According to a 2008 Honorary Anti-Tuberculosis Commission report, 35 percent of Uruguay’s prison population has tuberculosis.

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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- Uruguay",, [accessed <date>]