|Subject: BBC: E Timor police 'torture
E Timor police 'torture suspects'
The US-based group Human Rights Watch says it has heard dozens of credible accounts of torture and beatings by police in East Timor.
In a report issued on Wednesday, the group calls on the East Timorese government to take urgent action to prevent such abuse becoming routine.
The former Portuguese colony was ruled by Indonesia for nearly 24 years before a UN-sponsored referendum in 1999.
Human Rights Watch says it interviewed dozens of witnesses and victims of police abuse.
"We were shocked to find so many credible accounts of torture and severe ill-treatment by police officers," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director.
One of the victims mentioned in the report says he was "continuously tortured, sprayed with pepper spray, beaten and drenched with water".
Human Rights Watch says the government and independent oversight bodies have failed to take reports of police abuse seriously or discipline officers.
"East Timor's leaders are ignoring police abuse when they should be taking urgent steps to end it," Mr Adams said.
He added that the government risked emulating Indonesia, which was accused of widespread human rights abuses during its rule.
East Timor's truth and reconciliation commission found that more than 100,000 Timorese died as a result of the occupation.
Mr Adams said the document should serve as a "wake-up call" for international donors to express their concern.
The report urges donors to fund and plan strategies on training police in East Timor.
After three years of UN rule, East Timor became the world's youngest nation in 2002.
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4925122.stm
'Police in East Timor torturing criminal suspects'
DILI (AP): Police in East Timor have beaten and tortured suspects in custody, and the tiny nation must address the problem before it becomes widespread, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Thursday.
East Timorese Police Chief Paulo Martins denied the charges, detailed in a 50-page report based on dozens of interviews with witnesses and victims of police abuse in the country, which broke free from Indonesian rule in 1999.
"We treat our prisoners finely and in line with procedures," Martins said, asking that the New York-based rights watchdog send him proof of the abuses.
The allegations follow several years of international training and millions of dollars in aid for East Timor's police force, which was built from scratch after Indonesia withdrew from the territory.
The report lists several incidents of prisoners being beaten or pepper spray used against them while in detention. Some of the prisoners received injuries that needed hospital treatment, according to the report.
"We were shocked to find so many credible accounts of torture and severe ill-treatment by police officers," said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. "East Timor won independence in part because of Indonesia's horrific record here.Now some people are saying that the new police force is no better than the old one."
The group urged the East Timorese government to punish errant officers and publicly condemn torture and excessive force by police, as well introduce mechanisms to allow for oversight and discipline. (**)
'E Timor police brutality as bad as occupation days'
Mark Dodd April 22, 2006
EAST Timor's Government is under pressure to eradicate torture and ill-treatment of detainees by its police force amid fears of a return to Indonesian-era human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch said in a report this week that use of torture in the world's newest country was becoming routine. "We were shocked to find so many credible accounts of torture and severe ill-treatment by police officers," said Asia director Brad Adams.
The grim findings follow a raft of security problems affecting the impoverished half-island state.
More than a third of the country's armed forces have been discharged over a mutiny linked to claims of poor service conditions and biased promotion.
Several people interviewed had gone to hospital because of the severity of their injuries, the 50-page report said.
The report is a serious blow to the Australian Federal Police. It continues to provide urgently needed training for Timorese police officers, many of whom served in the Indonesian police force held responsible for widespread human rights abuses during the country's brutal occupation of the impoverished state. "East Timor won independence in part because of Indonesia's horrific record here," Mr Adams said. "Some people are saying that the new police force is no better than the old one, and this should worry the Government."
One young man told the group about his arrest near the western border town of Maliana, scene of some of the worst pro-Jakarta militia atrocities in 1999.
"I was arrested by the PNTL (police) and put in a cell for two days and two nights," he said. "I was continuously tortured, sprayed with pepper spray, beaten and drenched with water.
"They constantly threatened me, saying if you oppose the police then you will know the consequence. Both nights were different people, but both times they were beating me."
HRW called on the Government to ensure through public measures and statements that there was a "clear, unambiguous and consistent signal from the top that police use of torture, arbitrary detention and excessive force will not be tolerated".
In response, East Timor Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said the organisation's report was "too negative".