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Amnesty International reacts to reports of police 'death squads'

Published:Monday | January 20, 2014 | 12:38 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Amnesty International says the culture of covering up in the police force, hostility towards the main police oversight body, and weaknesses in Jamaica’s justice system could challenge efforts to investigate claims of police death squads.




The international human rights group has become the first global organisation to comment on a Sunday Gleaner article on claims by a retired cop and a serving police officer that the killings of some alleged criminals were thoroughly planned by high-ranking police personnel and executed by police hit squads.



READ: DEATH SQUADS



The police high command has since issued a statement rejecting the report.



However, Amnesty International says given its documented cases of extra-judicial executions, the claims by the two men should result in internal probes.



The lobby group says probes must also be convened by the Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM and the Director of Public Prosecutions.



Caribbean researcher for the human rights group, Chiaria Liguori says the men who made the allegations should report what they know and receive the adequate protection so that they don’t fear for their safety.



She stresses that the investigation should be thorough, effective and timely.



According to Liguori, Jamaica has a record of impunity for abuses committed by the security forces.



She says this time there should be no centuries-wait before knowing the truth.



In its statement denying the claims, the Police High Command said if retired and serving cops have access to facts, they should make reports to INDECOM with the confidence and assurance that they will be protected from any reprisal.



Jamaicans for Justice, human rights lobbyist Betty-Ann Blaine and attorney-at-law Patrick Bailey have called for the matter to be given high priority treatment by the Prime Minister and National Security Minister.



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