sunny.png
Monday August 2nd, 2021 8:30PM

Rights group: Colombian police cause deaths of 20 protesters

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (AP) — An international monitoring group on Wednesday accused police officers in Colombia of responsibility for the deaths of 20 people and other violent actions against protesters during recent civil unrest, including sexual abuse, beatings and arbitrary detentions.

Human Rights Watch said in a report said it has “credible evidence” indicating police killed at least 16 protesters or bystanders with “live ammunition fired from firearms,” while three other people died when police used non-lethal weapons. The report said another person died after being beaten repeatedly.

“These brutal abuses are not isolated incidents by rogue officers, but rather the result of systemic shortcomings of the Colombian police,” said José Miguel Vivanco, the group's director for the Americas. “Comprehensive reform that clearly separates the police from the military and ensures adequate oversight and accountability is needed to ensure that these violations don’t occur again.”

The report presents a panorama of more widespread violence than what Colombian authorities have acknowledged. It says Human Rights Watch has received “credible information” reporting a total of 68 deaths during the protests, 34 of which it was able to confirm, including two police officers.

Colombia's government has reported 18 deaths related to the protests and says an additional nine are under investigation. The country's human rights ombudsman, meanwhile, reported late Monday that it had confirmed 58 deaths related to the protests.

Thousands of Colombians have turned out across the country for mostly peaceful protests against the administration of President Iván Duque. The protests started over proposed tax increases on public services, fuel, wages and pensions, but it has morphed into a general demand for the government to do more for the most vulnerable in society, such as Indigenous and Afro Latino people.

The administration withdrew the tax proposal just days after the protests began, but the unrest has continued and grown as reports emerged of police violence, deaths and disappearances.

Human Rights Watch said its investigation into the police response to the nationwide protests that began April 28 found that the majority of fatal victims suffered injuries to vital organs, including head and chest, which experts said “are consistent with being caused with the intent to kill.”

The report says that among those killed by police was Kevin Agudelo, who died during a peaceful demonstration May 3 in Cali, a city in southwestern Colombia that has been the epicenter of the protests. Witnesses said anti-riot police fired flash bang cartridges and teargas when demonstrators blocked cars at a traffic circle, prompting several demonstrators to throw rocks.

“One witness said he heard shots that sounded like live ammunition,” the report says. “He said that Agudelo, who had been hiding behind a post, then ran toward him along with another protester. The witness said he saw a police officer shoot Agudelo from a short distance. The other protester was also injured, he said. Human Rights Watch reviewed three videos that appear consistent with the witnesses’ accounts, in which Agudelo is seen lying next to the injured protester”

The organization reviewed a photo of his body that showed wounds to the chest and arms, which the report said forensic experts concluded were consistent with being shot by live ammunition.

Authorities have been slow to investigate the reports of violence, and as of Saturday, only four people had been indicted in connection with two homicides that occurred during the protests. Of the 170 police officers under disciplinary investigation, only two have been suspended, according to Human Rights Watch. Official public data indicates most of these investigations are for abuse of authority and 13 are linked to homicides.

The police have also been accused gender-based and sexual violence. The Ombudsman’s Office, an agency in charge of protecting human rights, has reported 14 cases of sexual assault and 71 cases of gender-based violence, including physical and verbal assault.

Police have arrested more than 1,000 people for crimes allegedly committed during the protests, but hundreds of them were released because judges found no evidence linking them to the crime or concluded they were not guaranteed due process.

The president has said all cases of police abuse will be investigated and duly punished. However, Duque has insisted that they are isolated cases.

“Colombia is not a country that violates human rights, we have difficulties, but we face them with justice,” presidential counselor for human rights, Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez, told reporters Tuesday.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Davies strong, Rizzo, Wisdom homer in Cubs' 7-1 win vs Pads
Zach Davies allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings, Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in four runs, and Patrick Wisdom went deep again for the Chicago Cubs as they defeated the San Diego Padres 7-1
1:16AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Donovan Mitchell scores 45, rallies Jazz past the Clippers
Donovan Mitchell scored 45 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series
1:05AM ( 38 minutes ago )
McAuliffe win sets up Virginia clash with outsider Youngkin
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has handily won his party’s nomination in his quest for a return to the governor's mansion in Virginia
1:00AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Rights group: Colombian police cause deaths of 20 protesters
An international monitoring group is accusing police officers in Colombia of responsibility for the deaths of 20 people the during civil unrest that has raged for weeks
12:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
US increasingly unlikely to meet Biden's July 4 vax goal
For months, President Joe Biden has laid out goal after goal for taming the coronavirus pandemic and then exceeded his own benchmarks
12:01AM ( 1 hour ago )
McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination for Virginia governor
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has won the Democratic Party’s nomination in his quest for a second term in office
11:43PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Biden ends GOP infrastructure talks, but new group emerges
President Joe Biden has ended talks with a group of Republican senators on a big infrastructure package and has started to reach out to senators in a new bipartisan effort
11:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
Justices to decide if charge fits Minneapolis police killing
The Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Mohamed Noor
11:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
Global sting began by creating message service for crooks
Criminal gangs that used a secure-messaging app called ANOM unwittingly allowed the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to eavesdrop on their conversations
11:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Davies strong, Rizzo, Wisdom homer in Cubs' 7-1 win vs Pads
Zach Davies allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings, Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in four runs, and Patrick Wisdom went deep again for the Chicago Cubs as they defeated the San Diego Padres 7-1
1:16AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Donovan Mitchell scores 45, rallies Jazz past the Clippers
Donovan Mitchell scored 45 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 112-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series
1:05AM ( 38 minutes ago )
McAuliffe win sets up Virginia clash with outsider Youngkin
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has handily won his party’s nomination in his quest for a return to the governor's mansion in Virginia
1:00AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Bus with migrant workers collides with van in India; 17 dead
Police say a bus carrying migrant workers after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions hit a delivery van on a highway in northern India, killing at least 17 people
12:48AM ( 56 minutes ago )
On 1st overseas trip, Biden to assure allies and meet Putin
President Joe Biden departs Wednesday for the United Kingdom
12:39AM ( 1 hour ago )