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Police Brutality: Lalit request the NHRC to open an enquiry

21.07.2003


Lalit
153 Main Road, GRNW, Port-Louis.
Tel/Fax: 208 2132.

18 July 2003

Mr. D.B. Seetulsing
National Human Rights Commission
2nd Floor, Renganaden Seeneevassen Building
Jules Koenig St
Port-Louis

Dear Sir,

We would like to bring to your attention the following extracts of a speech made by Mr. Dhun Rampersad, Deputy Commissioner of Police as reported in Week-End 6th July 2003. The speech was made at a debate held at London College and organized by the Mauritian Branch of Amnesty International in the context of the International Day Against Torture.

Mr. Rampersad is quoted as having said (inadvertently, according to the reporter): “we cannot beat somebody unnecessarily, you try to punish him so that he confess…”

These words, now published, from a high rank officer of the Police Force in front of young college students are cause for deep concern. This kind of statement is not at all in keeping with basic human rights of arrested people or people in the custody of the police.

Moreover, according to the rule of law, it is the Courts who are entitled to give punishment, and that only after the accused have faced a trial, have had the right to defend themselves or be defended by a lawyer, and only if found guilty. Punishment does not include corporal punishment or beating; this has been outlawed.

We request you to open an enquiry. We believe you have the relevant powers through the Protection of Human Rights Act Sections 1(b), (c), (f) and (g).

We are enclosing a copy of the Press article for your enquiry.

Yours sincerely,
Alain Ah-Vee
for LALIT
cc Amnesty International (Mauritius Branch).