'El Chapo' Wants Extradition Because He Can't Sleep: Lawyer

Attorney says Joaquin Guzman wants to come to US because jailers are torturing him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2016 1:17 PM CST
'El Chapo' Wants Extradition Because He Can't Sleep: Lawyer
In this Jan. 8, 2016, image released by Mexico's federal government, Mexico's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, stands for his prison mugshot at the Altiplano maximum-security federal prison in Almoloya, Mexico.   (Uncredited)

A lawyer for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman said Wednesday his client now wants to be extradited as soon as possible to the United States because guards at a Mexican maximum-security prison won't let him sleep, the AP reports. Lawyer Jose Refugio Rodriguez, who told Radio Formula Wednesday he talked to Guzman Tuesday at the Altiplano prison west of Mexico City, says Guzman told him to negotiate with US authorities. "He has reached the limit," Rodriguez said. "It is an act of desperation. "He said to try to get a negotiation with the American government. We know of agreements with other people for confinement in medium-security prisons ... a much lower sentence." It's unclear what kind of agreements Rodriguez was referring to: Although some Mexican drug suspects have reached some form of plea deals with US authorities in the past, it's not clear any have ever been able to negotiate terms on where they'd be held. The US Embassy in Mexico City said it does not comment on extraditions.

Officials have acknowledged that guards wake Guzman every four hours for a head count. The harsher regime—Guzman also has fewer visits than his last stint in prison—seems to have broken him. "I saw a defeated, humiliated man," Rodriguez said. In February, Rodriguez gave the AP a copy of Guzman's testimony in one of the cases against him. In it, the jailed drug lord accused prison authorities of torturing him "by waking him up, and said, 'I feel like a sleepwalker. ... My head and my ears always hurt and I feel bad all over.'" Guzman also said that previously he had been give an hour and a half every day to talk to his lawyer and an hour in the sun in a prison patio; every nine days, he was allowed a four-hour conjugal visit and a four-hour family visit. Mexico's national security commissioner says Guzman's human rights aren't being violated at the Altiplano prison and pointed out Guzman has escaped twice from Mexican prisons and needs "special security measures." (More Joaquin Guzman stories.)

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