Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deaths in custody, South African style.

Censorbugbear reports...

During apartheid, every one of the 74 deaths in SA police custody up to 1994 was widely condemned in screaming headlines and frantic international protest campaigns. Under the ANC regime, deaths in custody soared to an ANNUAL 695 in 2006 and reached an ANNUAL 860 deaths in 2010. Let's repeat that: 860 people died in police-custody in 2010 ALONE. Only the annual Amnesty International summaries have some paragraphs tucked away mentioning this horrific fact. No screaming headlines, no frantic international protest actions. Why did world opinion come to such a screeching halt once the ANC came to power?

Number of people shot dead by police doubled since 2006: overall deaths in police action/custody soared to 860 in 2010 book year:

Gareth Newham of the Institute for Security Studies reported in May 2011 that the number of people shot dead by police doubled since 2006; that the overall deaths in police custody or resulting from police action, at 860 in the 2009-2010 year, were markedly higher than the average of 695 a year in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008. But that’s not all: the number of people shot dead by the SA policing authorities, also jumped from 281 in 2005-2006 to 521 in 2010 – giving South Africa the dubious distinction of having one of the highest recorded rates of homicides by police officers in the world. By comparison: the United States (overall population of 311-million) had 439 arrest-related homicides by law enforcement personnel in 2006.)

Amnesty International warned about large number of deaths and rapes in South African police custody in its 2011 summary.

Sampson Livira died on police station floor Eldorado Park Jan52010SouthAfrica Amnesty International flagged police torture, deaths in custody, extrajudicial killings and threats to the work of human rights defenders as matters of concern in South Africa. It cited Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) figures for April 2009 to March 2010 - which recorded five direct complaints against the police of torture and 920 complaints of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm by the police - and only some of which were being investigated for evidence of torture. Seven of 294 deaths in custody in 2010 were linked to torture and 90 others to “injuries sustained in custody”. The ICD also investigated 24 complaints of rape by police officers. Also of concern to Amnesty were the changes to the Criminal Procedures Act that allows police to use deadly force against a suspect resisting or fleeing arrest, where they believed there is a risk of “future death” if the suspect escaped. A.I. warned: "This proposed change allowed for the use of deadly force “in circumstances beyond those allowed by international human rights standards”.The report also raised concerns over threats to freedom of expression and the work of human rights defenders. It cited, among others, the trial of 12 supporters of housing rights movement Abahlali baseMjondolo on charges relating to violence in the Kennedy Road informal settlement in 2009 and the unlawful arrest of Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika after his reports on an alleged hit squad linked to senior Limpopo provincial government members. Also of concern were ANC plans for a media appeals tribunal and the tabling of the draconian Protection of Information Bill. Amnesty International did not however condemn the well-recorded, ongoing genocide of the Afrikaners and the unconstitutional hatespeech targetting the white minority for genocide by the ANC regime.

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