Uber Mexico City driver accused of rape detained by prosecutors

A local taxi driver leans on his car, with the words reading 'Uber out' written on the back windshield of his vehicle, during a protest in Mexico City, May 25, 2015. REUTERS/Adan Gutierrez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A driver for ride-hailing app Uber was detained in Mexico City after a female passenger accused him of raping her, a spokeswoman from the city’s prosecutor’s office said on Friday.

The passenger said she was raped earlier in May after being picked up by the Uber driver in the upmarket Condesa neighborhood, said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified. The driver was detained on Wednesday and is now being held in a prison in Mexico City, the spokeswoman said.

“We take accusations like this very seriously and thus have deactivated the platform of the driver,” Uber spokesman Luis de Uriarte, who is based in Mexico, said in a statement.

He confirmed that authorities had asked the company for information about a driver and a journey made by that driver.

The company’s Mexico City operation, its largest in Latin America, has often been cited by Uber officials as an example of progress for the city’s decision to regulate the service. The company has more than 39,000 drivers in Mexico and more than 1.2 million active users.

In 2014, Uber was temporarily banned in New Delhi after an Indian driver was accused of rape. Uber introduced safety measures and tightened driver checks after the incident.

Mexico’s Reforma newspaper reported the detention of the driver earlier on Friday.

Reporting by Noe Torres and Christine Murray; Editing by Paul Tait