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Petition against Torture on Detainees


Amnesty International (Mauritius), the association Justice and PILS are circulating a petition to be signed by organisations, associations and unions against police violence against detainees. The petition contains the following demands:

* That the investigations underway be conducted impartially and independently and that those responsible for the death of Rajesh Ramlogun be brought to justice;

* That adequate compensation be paid to relatives of victims of violence by officers of the State;

* That an adequately resourced and independent body empowered to investigate complaints against the police for violence be set up. This body must be accessible to all victims and publicly accoutable.;

* That the Human Rights Act of 1998 be amended to give more powers and independence to the National Human Rights Commission;

* That, when there is a death in detention, all officers of the State involved with the case at once be suspended so as to prevent interference with the enquiry into the death of the detainee, and those directly implicated be arrested under provisional charges, as is the normal procedure for suspects who are not police officers;

* That pathologists responsible for performing autopsies in cases of deaths in detention no longer be officers of the police department, as this represents a conflict of interest;

* That the rights of a detainee, including the assumption of innocence, be observed; that accused in future only be permitted to begin their statement in the presence of their lawyer (and where an accused cannot afford a lawyer, he or she be granted one); that the police officer concerned have the duty to inform the accused of their right to remain silent; that, in the case of a voluntary confession, the onus be shifted by law on to the Prosecution to prove that the accused has voluntarily given up his right to silence (as is the case in the USA); that confessions in future only be valid if confirmed before the magistrate by the accused (as is the case in India).

* That detainees, including those living with HIV and AIDS should not be discriminated against and should not be subject to treatment amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Gathering on Saturday
On Saturday 21st January, members of Amnesty International (Mauritius), Justice and PILS were in the Company Gardens in Port Louis in a gathering against police violence. Victims of police violence: Martine Desmarais and Veronique Topize (whose husband, Kaya, died in Police custody) gave testimonies about their experiences. Youth of Amnesty International and Henri Favory did street theatre in which they called out the names of 46 men who have died in police custody since 1979. This list comes from the register of Lalit's of people who have died in detention. Veronique Leclezio, artist, spoke out against police violence. Dhiren Moher of PILS, Raji Pyneeandy of Amnesty International and Rajni Lallah of Justice spoke about the demands being put forward by these organisations jointly in the struggle to stop police violence.