Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced a new presidential decree that would free thousands of federal prisoners in special circumstances, including torture victims.

The decree, to be signed next week, would free federal prisoners of any age who were accused of any crime if they had been victims of torture by Sept 15, Lopez Obrador said in a regular news conference on Thursday.

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He added that federal prisoners over age 75 who had not committed serious crimes, and prisoners over age 65 with chronic illnesses who had not committed serious crimes would also be liberated.

“It is important to take into account that there are many detainees, inmates who do not have a sentence, and that it is not only federal jurisdiction, it is also common jurisdiction,” Lopez Obrador said.

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It is said that the decree could have implications for high-profile cases, including the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in the southern state of Guerrero. Suspects linked to that crime have complained of torture.

Over the years, human rights organizations have criticized Mexico as utilizing torture as a way to obtain confessions from those accused of crimes.

There are about 94,547 people imprisoned without a sentence, according to Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero, with about 12,358 in the federal system.

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