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“Any culture of impunity encourages further illegal conduct and the absence of accountability at all levels”

Qs & As

* ‘One cannot justify any case of police brutality merely on the basis of statistics’

By Lex

How concerned must a person be for his personal safety and well-being when taken into custody by the Police in Mauritius? Even if the person is familiar about his rights guaranteed under the Constitution. With the current goings-on, how confident can he be that the Police Officer dealing with his case knows about those rights and will respect them? And what do the statistics say about the rest of the world? These are matters that have been hogging the headlines recently. Lex takes a look at them in the following Qs & As.

* Cases of inhuman and degrading treatment of suspects in custody and of detainees in general by police officers have long, rightly or wrongly, been believed to occur in the country from time to time. But since Saturday last a case involving recourse to a prohibited weapon known as taser has come to light and has been making the headlines this past week. How do you react to that?

There has been several cases of police brutality alleged in the past, but obviously the police have always denied them. And when such allegations are made in court, they are often brushed aside by magistrates and judges, thus creating the perception that the word of the police as against that of an accused is viewed as the gospel truth by the judiciary. This is the belief that unfortunately exists in Mauritius. On the other hand, the taser is an illegal weapon and nobody has the right to possess, and least of all to use it. How come the police officers involved had those tasers in their possession? How is it that there were resorting to a weapon that is patently illegal?

* According to press reports, this matter has been brought to the attention of the police authorities since 2020, but not much is known about how seriously it has been taken by them and whether an appropriate inquiry was conducted and the culprits, if any, were brought to justice. Isn’t such a situation conducive to the promotion of a culture of impunity?

Of course. There is the perception that Mauritius has over the past few years been breeding a culture of impunity in favour of all those who are close to the party in power. We all know that any culture of impunity encourages further illegal conduct and the absence of accountability at all levels – from the top down to so-called independent commissions or institutions. Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 3 June 2022

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