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'Unacceptable' if Mexicans subjected to medical abuse in U.S. custody, minister says

Credit: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico is interviewing at least six women who may have been subject to improper medical procedures including hysterectomies at an immigration detention center in the U.S. state of Georgia, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

Adds comments by foreign minister, details of allegations, background

MEXICO CITY, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Mexico is interviewing at least six women who may have been subject to improper medical procedures including hysterectomies at an immigration detention center in the U.S. state of Georgia, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

If the improper procedures are confirmed, Ebrard said measures would have to be taken, without giving details. He called the abuse described in a whistleblower's complaint "unacceptable."

"This has to be cleared up. If it is confirmed it would be a major issue and not only punished but also other measures would be taken," he told a news conference. He said officials had so far spoken to six women, and that there could be more cases.

A complaint by a whistleblower nurse last week alleged that detainees in the Georgia immigration detention facility had improperly received hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures.

The complaint did not specify the nationality of the affected detainees.

The nurse's allegations of improper medical procedures on detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center were filed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of the Inspector General by advocacy groups Project South and the Government Accountability Project.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has denied the allegations.

The DHS watchdog is investigating the complaint. Reuters interviewed the nurse but could not independently confirm the claims of improper hysterectomies, a surgery to remove the uterus.

(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City Writing by Frank Jack Daniel Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Matthew Lewis)

((frank.daniel@thomsonreuters.com; +52 55 5282 7137; Reuters Messaging: frank.daniel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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