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India must hold torturers accountable

Human Rights Watch publicou onte unha nota de prensa sobre a India, centrada en varios casos de detención ilegal, “desaparición” e tortura no Estado de Andhra Pradesh. A nota de prensa leva por título “India: Hold Torturers Accountable”. Copio un extracto do seu contido:

The Andhra Pradesh state government should prosecute police officials responsible for the torture of 21 Muslims after a series of bomb blasts in Hyderabad in May and August 2007, Human Rights Watch said today.

After the blasts, the authorities detained approximately 100 Muslims for questioning. Of those later charged, 21 were released. On November 13, the Andhra Pradesh government admitted that the 21 had been tortured and announced compensation of US$600 each. It also promised additional financial assistance through government loans. But the state government has not initiated criminal proceedings against any police officers who ordered or carried out the torture.

“Acknowledging torture and providing compensation is a good first step,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But the government has to prosecute those responsible so that those who use torture will not get away with it.”

On May 18, 2007, at least nine people were killed when a bomb exploded outside Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, where thousands had gathered for Friday prayers. On August 25, 2007, nearly 50 people died and scores were injured in two separate blasts in Hyderabad. There were arrests after each bombing.

The Hyderabad police initially suspected Islamist extremists of carrying out the attacks. Of those detained for questioning, most were released after a few days or weeks in custody.

Many of those picked up on suspicion of being linked to the blasts were illegally detained. The Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Constitution require that detainees be produced in court within 24 hours. Some of those detained said they were brought before the magistrate only after five to 10 days.

Families were not notified of the detention, and were not informed of the whereabouts of their relatives even when they made inquiries at police stations or lodged missing person complaints. In some cases, detainees said, they were taken for interrogation to unknown locations instead of a police station.

“For a period of time, these detainees were effectively ‘disappeared’ persons,” said Ganguly. “No one knew if they were dead or alive.”

Some detainees said they were beaten during interrogation, and others said they were subjected to so-called “third degree” methods that amounted to torture. The detainees were stripped, hung upside down, severely beaten, subjected to electric shocks, and otherwise ill-treated. They were also threatened with the torture of their relatives, particularly female relatives.

In 2007, the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission investigated the allegations. After interviewing those charged while they were still in jail awaiting trial, it reported that their injuries were “not self inflicted, these obviously arose during police custody […]

18 Novembro 2008 - Posted by | Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, India, Politics

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