LOCAL POLICE USES SYSTEMATIC TORTURE SAYS UN

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13:13:34
March
11 2007

LOCAL POLICE USES SYSTEMATIC TORTURE SAYS UN

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NIGERIA / MISNA on Ladysilvia; The Nigerian police uses torture against suspects ’habitually’ said Manfred Nowak, UN representative to end torture, in Abuja yesterday. Shots to the legs, aggressions, punches as well as failure to provide medical attention to wounds after torture have been noted with dramatic frequency by Nowak.

“At least as far as the local police, I have reached the conclusion that torture is used systematically” said Nowak. “This is a habitual practice used to extort information or confessions”, adding that “the total impunity given to the police officers fuels this state of affairs”. Nowak also said that, in spite of efforts by the government to stop torture " since 1999 when a civilian administration replaced two years of military rule in Nigeria " there are few concrete results.

Torture aside, the judicial system, said Nowak, discriminates against the poor, who are unable to pay for a lawyer and bail. However, evidence of torture in national prisons was scarce, where, nevertheless, it was noted, the situation was marred by overcrowding of detainees still awaiting a verdict. The Nigerian government itself said that there are over 25,000 (65% of the entire jail population of the country) detainees who have not been formally charged with any crime and who remain in jail because of delays in the judicial system or the bad management of penitentiaries. [AB]

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