Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us

Countries/Territories

Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.

Contribute

Submit news and opinion for publication

Subscribe

Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.

Archives

Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin



News from the Caribbean:


Back To Today's News

Killings at the hands of police rise in Dominican Republic while reforms stall
Published on August 16, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

LONDON, England -- The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress, said Amnesty International on Friday.

The past six months have seen the number of people killed by the police rise by 13% compared with the year before, with 87 people dead between January and June this year, according to figures released by the National Observatory on Citizen Security (Observatorio de Seguridad ciudadana).

“Fourteen people a month are dying at the hands of the police in the Dominican Republic. Many of these killings seem to have been unlawful. Clearly the government needs to push harder for concrete action to stop these abuses once and for all,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director.

“It’s a tragic state of affairs when the police, the very people tasked with protecting the human rights of citizens, are the ones committing such terrible crimes, further endangering public security in the country,” she said.

Crime in the Dominican Republic is rife and public security is a major concern for the population. However, evidence shows that far from helping to tackle the problem, hard-line policing methods are contributing to escalating violence and crime.

News of the increase in police killings comes as President Danilo Medina celebrates the mid-point of his presidential term. Police reform was a key component of the president’s election manifesto, but two years into his presidency the reform has yet to start while allegations of unlawful killings and torture by the police continue to be rife.

Amongst those killed this year was Walder Sánchez. Although the official police explanation was that he died in a shoot-out on 30 May, witness testimony suggests Sánchez was deliberately shot several times while unarmed. He was apparently in his bedroom with his pregnant girlfriend and begged the police not to shoot. During the operation, his landlady and girlfriend were also reportedly beaten by the police. An investigation into the incident has now been opened by the Attorney of Santo Domingo Province.

As well as allegations of unlawful killings, Amnesty International has also received numerous complaints of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the police.

In April, Luis Manuel Lember Matínez and Eduardo Luis Cruz were detained by the police after they refused to pay a bribe. Matínez was shot in the leg before the two men were transferred to the police station where they were beaten severely. Matínez claims he received electric shocks to his legs. Two days after their ordeal they were released. The police officers involved are now under investigation.

While some of the cases documented by Amnesty International are being investigated, others are merely covered up. There are numerous cases of police impunity on which Amnesty International has been campaigning for years. However the Office of the Prosecutor General has consistently remained silent in the face of all requests for information on these cases.

Legislation to reform the police has been waiting to be passed by Congress since May 2013. The failure to prioritize the bill and interests opposing reform have prevented the bill’s progress.

“Without the adoption of legislation aligned with human rights principles, it is very unlikely that we will ever see the national police working effectively to respect human rights,” said Guevara.

“Two years ago we had great expectations for President Medina and his promises about police reform, but sadly the police continue to kill unlawfully and torture with impunity while the president’s much lauded bill sits stagnating in parliament.

“There is no time to waste. President Medina still has the opportunity to fulfil his campaign promise to ‘do what has never been done’, namely to give the country the police force that it deserves,” she added.

Amnesty International is now calling on the Dominican Republic to push these reforms through in order to overhaul the National Police force and to investigate and prosecute all those responsible for unlawful killings, torture, and other human rights violations.

 
Reads: 2156





Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



Back...

Comments:

No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.

Back...

Send us your comments!  

Send us your comments on this article. All fields are required.

For your contribution to reach us, you must (a) provide a valid e-mail address and (b) click on the validation link that will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.  If the address is not valid or you don't click on the validation link, we will never see it!

Your Name:

Your Email:

(Validation required)

Comments:
Enter Code



Please note that, if you are using an AT&T domain email address, e.g. att.net, bellsouth.net, sbcglobal.net, the verification email will likely not be delivered. This is outside of our control and the only remedy seems to be for readers to complain to AT&T





Disclaimer
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.



Other Headlines:



Regional Sports: