While Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo are busy grabbing all the headlines in the wake of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's most recent recapture, the most powerful drug lord on the planet is reportedly enduring some not-so-great conditions in prison. According to El Chapo, prison officials at the maximum-security Altiplano facility in Mexico are subjecting him to mental and physical torture.
"I am loudly awakened every two hours at night," attorney Juan Pablo Badillo, speaking on behalf of El Chapo, said in an interview with Ciro Gómez Leyva quoted by El Universal. "They are turning me into a zombie. They do not let me sleep." Badillo is also critical of authorities' alleged attempts at interfering and even blocking El Chapo's access to proper legal counsel, revealing that a recent prison visit only landed him a 25-minute discussion with his client.
"The Constitution states that inmates are entitled to have as many lawyers as they want," Badillo added, according to Business Insider. A government spokesperson confirms that El Chapo is continually being "changed from cell to cell without a pattern," in an obvious effort to prevent a third maximum-security prison break. However, some experts argue that some of the "systemic" weaknesses that allowed El Chapo's July 2015 escape are still in place today.
"I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs," infrequent Rolling Stone contributor Sean Penn said in a January interview with Charlie Rose. "How much time have they spent in the last week since this article [came out], talking about that? One percent? I think that'd be generous." The release of Penn's controversial article, later described by Penn himself as a "failure," inadvertently coincided with El Chapo's recapture and kicked off weeks of still-in-progress debates surrounding the current state of journalism.