Islamic Human Rights Commission
For immediate release
1st June 2001
MAURITIUS: Report Finds Culture of Police Brutality
One death in custody every five weeks
A report launched by the Islamic Human Rights Commission last Wednesday 30th May 2001, found an appalling catalogue of human rights abuses within the criminal justice system in the Republic of Mauritius.
The Indian Island Ocean hailed as a paradise holiday location, is charged with operating a corrupt system of law enforcement that includes detention of suspects without charge, the use of torture and fabrication of evidence. Particularly shocking is the recent case of the detention of politician Mohammed Cehel Fakeemeah (also known as Cehl Meeah), a leading Muslim politician. Meeah was called in for questioning with regard to the ‘Ghora Issac Street killings’ of 1996.
IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh said:
“Cehl Meeah walked into a police station voluntarily last December, a relatively healthy man and appeared at court several days later in a wheelchair. Where is the accountability for this type of abuse?”
IHRC legal observer, Osama Daneshyar, who visited Mauritius in April and authored the report said:
” One of the witnesses, a close ally of Deputy Prime Minister Paul Berenger, is currently being investigated for receiving payments in return for making false witness statements. He was paid RS 240,000 by Deputy Prime Minister Berenger in 1996 after the killings in Ghora Isaac Street of which Mr Meeah is now accused of masterminding, suggesting that the culture of brutality may be rooted in a more subtle but prevalent culture of political corruption.”
Cehl Meeah’s case is not isolated. The report entitled, ‘Equal in the Eyes of the Law: Police brutality in the Republic of Mauritius’ outlines a series of cases which in the author’s opinion indicate that abuse is pervasive, often politically motivated and in that respect non-discriminatory. Daneshyar continued:
“Speaking to Mr Emmanuel Leung Shing, Attorney General of Mauritius, his claim that everyone gets their fair share in Mauritius whether Muslim, Creole or white, I came to realise by the end of my visit to be very true. Everyone in Mauritius has had their fair share of police brutality, whether Muslim, Creole or white.
“It is now vital that the international community as well as the various other organisations, who have portrayed Mauritius as a Paradise Island for foreign tourists, take action to prevent it from becoming a hell for its citizens.”
For more information, a report summary or a copy of the report please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8902 0888 or (+44) 7958 60 74 75, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org