October 23, 2016
Ciudad Juarez – Following a major legal setback in their battle to avoid notorious Mexican drug lord
. United States
Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman's extradition, his defense attorneys appear to be laying the groundwork for a possible argument that he is unfit to stand trial in the
Guzman is in somewhat better spirits than a few months ago because his wife, Emma Coronel, visited him last week, but he is concerned about his mental health because his head hurts and he is experiencing memory loss, Silvia Delgado, his attorney in the northern border city of
, told EFE Friday. The imprisoned Sinaloa cartel
chief's short-term memory is increasingly diminished, and in the prison where
he is confined in Ciudad Juarez officials are only giving him one-fourth of the
anxiolytic medication doctors have prescribed, Delgado said. Ciudad
"He put a lot of emphasis on his health. He says he wouldn't make an attempt on his own life for the sake of his two (young) daughters, but he urged us to help him with his health," she said after visiting the prison where he has been held since May.
She said she could not say that Guzman "is confident he won't be extradited soon, but he's at ease with the work we're doing as his legal representatives," Delgado added.
Andres Granados, one of the leaders of Guzman's defense team, told EFE that his client could die as soon as December if he continues to be mistreated inside the prison.
"(Guzman) told me. His health has deteriorated. He feels bad. They're taking his medication away. It seems like the federal government wants to kill him before he can be extradited," the attorney said in an interview at the
airport after visiting the high-profile inmate. Ciudad Juarez
The defense attorney said Guzman was taking more than four medications for headaches, as well as anti-depressants, anxiolytics and other drugs.The federal Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that a federal judge ruled against a series of appeals by Guzman in his extradition battle.
His defense attorneys said that same day they would appeal to higher courts within 10 working days and that a new ruling could take several months or up to a year.
They could further appeal to
Supreme Court and, if necessary, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
Granados said. Mexico
If all of those appeals fail Guzman would be transferred to the
where he has been indicted in several states on charges including criminal
conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. United States
While it remains unclear whether the assertions about memory loss and poor health will have any impact on Guzman's appeals process in Mexico, his defense team may be planning to use those health issues to argue that he is unfit to stand trial in the United States or merits less severe sentences.
The Mexican government, for its part, appears hopeful that it can extradite Guzman, who has twice escaped from maximum-security prisons, in the near future.
His most recent escape occurred in 2015 and was a humiliating blow for President Enrique Peña Nieto's government, although he was recaptured a few months later.
He had earlier broken out of a prison in the western state of Jalisco in 2001 and spent more than 13 years on the run before being recaptured on
Feb. 22, 2014,
in the Pacific resort city of . Mazatlan
Guzman's criminal organization rose to become one of the main sources of illicit drugs entering the
The Mexican kingpin's wealth led to his name regularly appearing on Forbes magazine's list of global billionaires.
On Friday, National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said the drug lord could be extradited in January or February once all of his appeals have been exhausted.