CAT/C/65/D/778/2016

The facts as submitted by the complainants
2.1
In December 2005, Mr. Yrusta was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment. He was
deprived of his liberty in Bouwer Prison, in the Province of Córdoba, where he was
subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment by members of the Córdoba
Prison Service. The ill-treatment included long periods in buzones (isolation or punishment
cells), the use of the “dry submarine” treatment, involving suffocation using a plastic bag,
beatings, threats, transfers and being shackled to a bed. The complainants assert that, after
Mr. Yrusta complained publicly about these acts while being interviewed for a television
programme, the ill-treatment and torture inflicted on him intensified.
2.2
Fearing for his life, Mr. Yrusta asked the Córdoba prison authorities to transfer him
to the Province of Santiago del Estero, where some of his family members lived. Despite
his request, he was transferred to Coronda Prison Facility No. 1, in the Province of Santa Fe,
in January 2013. The complainants consider that the transfer was carried out in a deceptive
manner, since the prison services in these two provinces failed to inform Mr. Yrusta, who
could not read, of where he was being taken. They consider that Mr. Yrusta agreed to his
transfer in the belief that he was being moved to the Province of Santiago del Estero.
2.3
On his arrival at the Coronda Prison Facility, Mr. Yrusta was placed in buzones
where he was again subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Members of his family requested
information from the prison services about his whereabouts on a number of occasions, but
received no reply. This situation lasted for a period of more than seven days, during which
the complainants consider that Mr. Yrusta was subjected to enforced disappearance. When
he was again able to contact his family, Mr. Yrusta told them that he continued to be illtreated and tortured daily, held in punishment cells, shackled and placed under escort when
leaving his cell to make telephone calls, and deprived of the health care he needed.
2.4
On 7 February 2013, 4 months before Mr. Yrusta was due for release on parole and
10 months before the date set for his final release, Santa Fe prison service staff notified his
family that he had committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. According to the
autopsy report by the Santa Fe Forensic Medicine Service, “the most plausible hypothesis is
that the death of [Roberto Agustín Yrusta] resulted from asphyxia caused by sudden
compression of the neck by an object with elastic properties (which was not furnished along
with the body of the deceased)”.1 The complainants report that, when Mr. Yrusta’s body
was handed over to his family, it displayed large blisters, severe swelling of the hands and
feet, open wounds, cuts to the arms, signs of bleeding, multiple bruises, signs that he had
been struck violently on the head and other marks that appeared to have been caused by the
impact of rubber bullets, while the neck area displayed no signs of hanging. In view of the
above, the complainants mistrust the version transmitted by the authorities of the State
party regarding the causes of Mr. Yrusta’s death.
The complaint
3.1
The complainants claim to be victims of violations by the State party of their rights
under articles 2, 6, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Convention.
3.2
The complainants contend that the State party has breached its obligations under
article 2 of the Convention by failing to adopt prompt measures to prevent the acts of
torture committed against Mr. Yrusta. They submit that there is no record of the State party
engaging in prevention activities or taking steps to protect their rights or those of Mr.
Yrusta, and that their requests were ignored by the Argentine Prison Service. In addition,
the lack of judicial oversight of transfers of persons deprived of their liberty between
different prison facilities ended up being detrimental to Mr. Yrusta, who died as a result of
a transfer carried out in retaliation for his public complaints.
3.3
The complainants consider that the State party has violated article 6 (2) of the
Convention by failing to launch a formal and timely investigation into the allegations of
torture made by Mr. Yrusta and by them.

1

2

Sixth Bench of the Criminal Investigation Court, Province of Santa Fe, case file No. 173-2013, pp.
62–64.
GE.19-01524

Select target paragraph3