Guzman is accused of being the kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel — one of the biggest drug empires in the world — and is currently in solitary confinement in Manhattan; his trial is expected to take place next April. He faces drug trafficking, firearms and conspiracy charges at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Brooklyn, New York. If found guilty, Guzman will spend the rest of his life in a maximum-security US prison.
According to a new court filing by his public defender lawyers, the drug lord's extradition violates the Mexico-US extradition treaty and Mexico's original agreement to send El Chapo to either Texas or California.
Guzman's lawyers also claim that if Mexico had been aware of "the extraordinarily harsh conditions" of his US imprisonment, the country would have never been on board with his extradition, Business Insider reports.
David Patton, executive director of Federal Defenders of New York, says, "The segregated units are horrifying and inhumane," according to the New York Times. "The fluorescent lights are always on. The only sound is the occasional clanking of metal when doors are opened and closed."
"These conditions… are tantamount to torture. Had Mexico been advised of these conditions, it almost certainly would not have consented to Mr. Guzman's detention and prosecution in this district," read the court papers.
The drug trafficker's lawyers are also claiming that the US government's desire to secure $14 billion worth of so-called drug profits is unfair: they claim the US did not seek consent from Mexico regarding this penalty.
Federal Judge Brian Cogan has not made any rulings on this case yet. The judge did modify Guzman's prison conditions slightly in May, allowing him to swap pre-screened written messages with his wife. The drug lord, however, is still refused family visits and phone calls.