Amnesty International calls for police justice in Mozambique

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Map of Mozambique
Image: Rui Malheiro.

Human Rights group Amnesty International has called on the Mozambican government to stop and investigate allegedly illegal killings by police, citing 46 deaths since 2006 with few police prosecutions and families unable to achieve justice.

"The families of victims face almost insurmountable challenges and only the most persistent and well-off have been able to get some small measure of justice. Most others are left without any justice for the loss of their loved ones," stated Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.

"Even worse, the government seems to have permitted and even encouraged a number of obstacles to be put in the way of victims' families as they sought justice."

A police spokesman, however, claimed that the report is biased. Police said that officers guilty of illegal killings had been convicted, receiving sentences of over twenty years. However the authorities provided little information to the human rights' group, despite numerous requests. On other occasions they said that no investigations were undertaken as the killing was presumed legal.

Mozambique's police minister and his deputy declined to comment.