Torture whistleblowers threatened by Dominican Republic police
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Ana Patricia Fermín has been receiving death threats from police in the Dominican Republic since April 2014, after she reported that two of her relatives were tortured while in police custody in the northern outskirts of Santo Domingo, the capital. Her husband and one of the tortured men were shot dead by police in September. Her safety remains at risk.
Three police officers were ordered pre-trial detention on 29 April by a Court in the Santo Domingo province (Tribunal de Atención Permanente de la provincial de Santo Domingo) for the alleged tortured suffered by Luis Manuel Lember Martínez and Eduardo Luis Cruz in Los Alcarrizos, on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, on 12 April.
Since Fermín reported this torture, she, Luis Manuel, Eduardo Luis and her husband have publicly reported receiving death threats, although no protection measures have been implemented by the Dominican authorities. On the day the court ordered the pre-trial detention measures against the police officers, one of them told Fermín and her husband, Mélido Florián Peña Rodríguez: “We give you six months to live” (les damos 6 meses de vida).
On 24 September, the police announced they had killed Rodríguez and Cruz in an exchange of gunfire near Nagua, northern Dominican Republic. Relatives of the two men allege that they were kidnapped around 2.40 pm by hooded men with black and white vans as they exited a bar in Los Alcarrizos. Their dead bodies were later found abandoned with two other dead men near Nagua. The family told Amnesty International that on the same day, 34 relatives of Rodríguez were arrested by police at his wake. All were subsequently released on 25 and 26 September.
Fermín was amongst the 34 arrested. She stated that she has been arrested by the police on two other occasions and brought to the local police station, although she was never presented to a prosecutor nor formally charged.
Fermín reported to Amnesty International that the police searched her house on nine occasions between May and September, and that she has seen a red van without licence plates often parked in front of her house, most recently on 19 October. She believes they may be police officers intimidating her.
Source: Caribbean News Now
Category: DR News |