Dominican Republic
21.05.02
Urgent Interventions

Dominican Republic: Carlos Javier Mendez subjected to torture by police

Case DOM 210502
Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Dominican Republic.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by Casa Alianza, a member of the OMCT network, that 21-year old Carlos Javier Mendez was subjected to torture at the hands of members of the police while in detention, in the Dominican Republic.

According to the information received, Mr. Mendez was arrested on April 3rd, 2002. He was reportedly accused of robbing a residence that is owned by a construction businessman and is situated adjacent to a house where he worked as a security guard, for a company called Security Force. Mr. Mendez, who denied the charges, was reportedly taken by the police to the house where the robbery had occurred. Mr. Mendez has since expressed fears that he was brought there in order to leave fingerprints of a crime he never committed.

According to the report, while in detention, Mr. Mendez was subjected to torture and ill-treatment by the Dominican police, in order to force him to confess to having perpetrated the robbery. Mr. Mendez was reportedly beaten repeatedly during this time: he was reportedly dragged to a cistern holding contaminated water and the remains of dead animals, and then placed in the cistern, where he was forced to drink from the water while the police beat him with a stick wrapped in rags. As a result, he had problems breathing and repeatedly passed out, at which point he was taken out of the cistern, before being put back in it some time later, when he had recovered somewhat. During several hours, Mr. Mendez was reportedly forced to keep an onion on his mouth and had another pushed into his rectum, throughout which time he was beaten. If he swallowed the onion, a black hood was pulled over his head and further onions were added.

According to the information received, another security guard, whose identity is currently unknown, was also reportedly arrested by the police and tortured in detention. His testicles were reportedly twisted until they bled. A female domestic worker in the house where the robbery occurred was also allegedly beaten by the police in relation with this affair.

According to the report, Mr. Mendez was released after a judge ruled that he was innocent of the alleged robbery. The exact date of his release is unknown at present. Mr. Mendez reportedly received death threats from his torturers, in order to pressure him into not talking about the torture to which he had been subjected. Soon after he left the prison he fainted on the street, following which, members of the local fire brigade took him to a medical office. Dr. Felix Antonio Cruz Jimian treated Mr. Mendez there, and, together with Dr. Domingo Porfirio Rojas Nina, requested police protection for Mr. Mendez, who, despite the threats he has received, spoke openly about his experience to local newspaper Hoy on May 14th, 2002.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned by the Dominican authorities use of torture on Carlos Javier Mendez during his detention and the reported torture and beatings of other persons in connection with this case. OMCT is also concerned about the death threats proffered against Mr. Mendez and urges the Dominican authorities to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity through adequate protection. OMCT fears that the perpetrators of these attacks will not be brought to justice and that Carlos Javier Mendez and the other persons who have been the victims of human rights abuses in this affair will not be granted adequate reparation.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in the Dominican Republic urging them to:

· guarantee Carlos Javier Méndez’s physical and psychological integrity;
· order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events and guarantee that those responsible are brought to trial and that the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions are applied as provided by law;
· guarantee adequate reparation be granted to Carlos Javier Méndez;
· guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

· S.E. Ing. Hipolito Mejía, presidente de la República, Palacio Nacional, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. Fax (+ 1-809) 686 82 04 ó/or 682 23 41 ó/or 682 09 68
· Procurador General de la República Dr.Virgilio Bello Rosa, Centro de los Héroes de Constanza, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.
· Secretario de Interior y Policía Dr. Pedro Franco Badia, Huacal, Av. Mexico, Santo Domingo, Républica Dominicana.
· Corte Suprema de Justicia, Calle Hipólito Herrera Billini esq. Juan B. Pérez, Centro de los Héroes, Constanza, Maimón y Estero Hondo. Santo Domingo, D.N.,República Dominicana. Apartado Postal 1485. Fax: ( + 1-809 ) 532-2906, E-mail: suprema.corte@codetel.net.do

Please also write to the embassies of the Dominican Republic in your respective country.

Geneva, 21st May, 2002

Please inform us of any action undertaken in connection with this case, quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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