UN urges probe into Haiti police torture cases

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The UN human rights agency Tuesday urged Haitian authorities to investigate suspected cases of torture and unlawful killings by police.

Illegal force by officers of the Haitian National Police "may have led to the deaths of nine people" in the Port-au-Prince area between October 2010 and June this year, said the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Investigations carried out by OHCHR and the human rights section of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (HRS-MINUSTAH) into six incidents implicate about 20 officers.

"In all the incidents investigated, there is reason for concern that the deaths may have been the result of illegal use of force by the police," said an OHCHR statement.

"In some instances, there are indications of extra-judicial or summary and arbitrary executions."

In one case, a 44 year-old man named Serge Demosthene was reportedly beaten to death by police while inside one of Haiti's most prominent police stations.

In their reports published on Tuesday, the agencies called on authorities to ensure "thorough, prompt and impartial investigations" into all cases of suspected illegal use of force by the police, and for officers responsible to be brought to justice.

© 2011 AFP

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