Summary executions


Jordan: Death in Custody of `Ala’ Abu `Utair



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Jordan: Death in Custody of `Ala’ Abu `Utair
Violation alleged: Death in custody
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Jordan has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 23 October 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
We would like to bring to your Government’s attention information we have received regarding Mr `Ala’ Abu `Utair and approximately 2100 prisoners held at Swaqa correction and rehabilitation centre. According to the information received:
In July and August 2007, they were subjected to repeated beatings with truncheons, electrical cables and steel balls attached to steel chains by about 300 officers of a “Special Police Force”. The officers entered the cells, dragged out the prisoners and beat them in the adjacent courtyard. The prisoners did not receive any medical care following these beatings, although some were severely injured. Several prisoners were unable to walk because of injuries to their legs. Two prisoners, one of them `Ala’ Abu `Utair, died as a result of the ill-treatment.
During the same period, the Muslim prisoners who had beards were forcibly shaved and subjected to other restrictions, e.g. they were not allowed to leave their cells 24 hours per day.
Starting in September, the situation improved slightly in terms of access to food and access to family members, exercise. The prison director, named Majed, was removed. However, reportedly, no investigations into the allegations of the deaths in custody or torture were initiated and none of the perpetrators were brought to justice.
Without in any way implying any conclusion as to the facts of the case, we recall that Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) enshrines the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s life. When the State detains an individual, it is held to a heightened level of diligence in protecting that individual’s rights. As a consequence, when an individual dies in State custody, there is a presumption of State responsibility. This means that a State is presumed to be responsible for the death of the person under international law, unless clear evidence to the contrary emerges, explaining how the death occurred. In this respect, we would like to recall the conclusion of the Human Rights Committee in a custodial death case (Dermit Barbato v. Uruguay, communication no. 84/1981 (1990)): “While the Committee cannot arrive at a definite conclusion as to whether Hugo Dermit committed suicide, was driven to suicide or was killed by others while in custody; yet, the inescapable conclusion is that in all the circumstances the Uruguayan authorities either by act or by omission were responsible for not taking adequate measures to protect his life, as required by article 6 (1) of the Covenant.”
Without in any way implying any conclusion as to the facts of the case, we should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to seek clarification of the circumstances regarding the cases of the persons named above. We would like to stress that each Government has the obligation to protect the right to physical and mental integrity of all persons. This right is set forth inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We would also like to draw your Government’s attention to article 12 of the Convention Against Torture, which requires the competent authorities to undertake a prompt and impartial investigation wherever there are reasonable grounds to believe that torture has been committed, and article 7 of the Convention Against Torture, which requires State parties to prosecute suspected perpetrators of torture. We would also like to draw your Government’s attention to paragraph 3 of Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights which, “Stresses in particular that all allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment must be promptly and impartially examined by the competent national authority, that those who encourage, order, tolerate or perpetrate acts of torture must be held responsible and severely punished, including the officials in charge of the place of detention where the prohibited act is found to have been committed, and takes note in this respect of the Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Istanbul Principles) as a useful tool in efforts to combat torture;”.
We would also like to appeal to your Excellency's Government to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief in accordance with the principles set forth in the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief and article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights as well as of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In its general comment No. 22 (1993) on Article 18 of the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee stressed that “[p]ersons already subject to certain legitimate constraints, such as prisoners, continue to enjoy their rights to manifest their religion or belief to the fullest extent compatible with the specific nature of the constraint” (para. 8).
We urge your Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned persons are respected and that accountability of any person guilty of the alleged violations is ensured. We also request that your Government adopts effective measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Has a complaint been lodged?
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries which may have been carried out in relation to this case. If no inquiries have taken place, or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.
4. In the event that the alleged perpetrators are identified, please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken; Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the alleged perpetrators?
5. Please indicate whether compensation has been or will be provided to the victims or the families of the victims.
Kenya: Shoot-to-kill order Issued by the Internal Security Minister
Violation alleged: Deaths due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
Subject(s) of appeal: General
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Kenya has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Urgent appeal dated 31 January 2007
I would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government the reported remarks of Internal Security Minister, Mr John Michuki made on 26 January 2007 at the passing out parade of police recruits at the GSU Training School, Embakasi. It was reported that Mr Michuki stated that police would no longer arrest armed criminals since they have ill intentions when they illegally acquire weapons. He reportedly stated “how do you arrest someone who has a gun and is ready to fire? Or will you arrest him when you are already dead?” I also note that the Minister reportedly made a similar shoot to kill order to the security forces in March 2005 shortly after his appointment in office.
I am fully aware of your Government’s commitment to protect its citizens from criminal violence in the country and the challenges that the police face in carrying out their work. It is my understanding that at least six police officers have been shot by armed criminals in January 2007 and that in the same period the police have killed 46 suspected criminals in Nairobi.

In this connection, I would like to refer your Excellency's Government to the its obligations reflected in a variety of international instruments, including especially Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides that every individual has the right to life and security of the person, that this right shall be protected by law and that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.


In its General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee has observed “that States parties should take measures not only to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, but also to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces. The deprivation of life by the authorities of the State is a matter of the utmost gravity. Therefore, the law must strictly control and limit the circumstances in which a person may be deprived of his life by such authorities."
I would also like to remind the Government of your Excellency that the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, provide that law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duties, shall as far as possible apply non-violent means and shall only use force in exceptional cases including self-defense or defense of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Such force must be proportional to these objectives, the seriousness of the crime and must minimize damage and injury. Force may only be used when less extreme means are insufficient. Arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is to be punished as a criminal offence under national law. Besides, Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials provides that law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.
It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all such cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on these cases to the Council I would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations.
1. Is the report concerning the shoot to kill order accurate? If so, has the Government taken any action to countermand the policy?
2. Please provide statistics on the numbers of alleged criminals killed by the police over the past two years together with statistics on the number of police officers killed during the same period.
3. Please provide detailed information on the terms of the current rules of engagement that the police have to follow in their search for potential armed criminals, including details on the above-mentioned policy allowing officers to “shoot to kill” suspected armed criminals.
Kenya: Killings during Post-Election Violence
Violation alleged: Deaths due to attacks or killings by security forces of the State, or by paramilitary groups, death squads or other private forces cooperating with or tolerated by the State
Subject(s) of appeal: At least 682 people
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Kenya has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 21 January 2008
I would like to bring to your Government’s attention information I have received alleging that over 600 killings by armed mobs have occurred in Kenya subsequent to the announcement on 30 December 2007 that the 27 December 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections were won by President Mwai Kibaki. In addition, according to allegations received, at least a further 82 people have been shot and killed by Kenyan police. According to the information received:
Following claims that President Mwai Kibaki’s election victory was the result of vote tampering, supporters of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga staged protests across Kenya. The protests quickly became violent, and spread through the Rift Valley and the west of Kenya. Supporters of the ODM (primarily members of the Luo tribe) reportedly chased away those people (primarily members of the Kikuyu and Kisii tribes) thought to be Kibaki supporters, and looted or burned Kikuyu shops and homes. Violent reprisals have also been committed against suspected ODM supporters or Luo tribe members by Kibaki supporters. I have received allegations that during the ongoing post-election violence, over 600 politically and ethnically motivated killings were committed by mobs armed with machetes, swords, and bows and arrows. A further 250,000 people, primarily from the Rift Valley, are said to have been displaced from their homes.
In particular, I have received allegations of the following specific killings:
- 1 January 2008: Up to 50 people, mostly Kikuyu tribe women and children fleeing mobs armed with machetes, were intentionally burnt to death in the Kenya Assemblies of God Pentecostal church, 8 kilometers from the town of Eldoret in the Rift Valley. According to allegations received, the attackers dragged mattresses into the church doused in petrol and set them alight, and the entrance to the church was blocked to prevent people escaping.
- 19 January 2008: ODM supporters killed eight people in a makeshift refugee camp in the Rift Valley village of Kipkelion, 180 kilometres northwest of Nairobi.
- 20 January 2008: Three people were murdered with machetes in the Nairobi neighborhood of Huruma.
I have also received allegations that during some incidents, Kenyan police failed to protect people who were being violently attacked. Thus, for example, according to information received, Peter Kyalo was attacked and his arm was cut off by a group armed with machetes. In another incident, 50 people attacked Dominic Owour, a 23-year-old man, and attempted to cut off both of his arms. According to the allegations, police watching both incidents did not intervene.
In addition to the killings by armed mobs, Kenyan police are alleged to have used live ammunition to disperse opposition protesters, killing people in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Elderot. I have received allegations that unarmed individuals not taking part in protests or any form of criminal activity were killed by police gunfire. In addition, I have received allegations that Kenyan police have been given a “shoot to kill” order against those participating in banned demonstrations against the results of the election. According to information received, at least 82 people have been killed by police since protests began at the end of December 2007. In three days (16-18 January 2008) of opposition protests, over 25 people were killed by police. The following specific instances have been reported to me:
- 16 January 2008: Five people were shot and killed by police in Kisumu. One of the men was allegedly shot at close range while unarmed and moving away from police. Another of those killed was Salim Hamed, a 13-year-old boy shot three times in the back by police. According to allegations received, the Kisumu hospital reports a total of 44 deaths in Kisumu due to police bullets.
- 17 January 2008: Seven people were shot by police in Mathare and surrounding slums in Nairobi.
- 18 January 2008: At least seven people were shot and killed by police in the Kibera slum, including a 15-year-old girl, Rosa Otieno. Another person was killed by police in Mombasa.
- 19 January 2008: Seven people were shot and killed by police – four in Nyairobi village, and three in Londiani.
Without wishing to prejudge the accuracy of this information, I would like to recall the relevant human rights standards. Human rights law protects every individual’s inherent right to life and security (Article 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)). Article 6 of the ICCPR provides that the right to life and security shall be protected by law, and that no person shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. Your government has a due diligence obligation to protect the lives of persons within your territory and jurisdiction from attacks by other persons within your territory (Jiménez Vaca v Colombia, UN Human Rights Committee, 25 March 2002, paragraph 7.3). I would also like to bring to your Government’s attention the duty to thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigate killings, and to prosecute and punish all violations of the right to life. As reiterated by the 61st Commission on Human Rights in Resolution 2005/34, all States have “the obligation … to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”, and “to identify and bring to justice those responsible”.
With respect specifically to those cases in which it was reported to me that Kenyan police were responsible for killing civilians, I would recall the international human rights law that governs the use of force by law enforcement officials. Article 6 of the ICCPR requires that force be used by law enforcement officials only when strictly necessary, and that force must be in proportion to the legitimate objective to be achieved. As expressed in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (Basic Principles), this requires that law enforcement officials shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force (Basic Principles, Principle 4). Further, whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall exercise restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence, minimize injury, and respect human life (Basic Principles, Principle 5). Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life (Basic Principles, Principle 9). And, unless it would unduly risk death or serious harm to law enforcement officers or other persons, law enforcement officers must give suspects the opportunity to surrender and must employ a graduated resort to force (Principles 4 and 10, Basic Principle; Suárez de Guerrero v Colombia, UN Human Rights Committee, 31 March 192, paragraph 13.2). Your government’s laws must “strictly control and limit the circumstances” in which law enforcement officers may resort to lethal force (Baboeram v Suriname, UN Human Rights Committee (4 April 1985), paragraph 14). A general “shoot to kill” order violates these standards. As I have previously reported, “the rhetoric of shoot-to-kill serves only to displace clear legal standards with a vaguely defined licence to kill, risking confusion among law enforcement officers, endangering innocent persons, and rationalizing mistakes” (Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, UN Doc E/CN.4/2006/53, 8 March 2006).
It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on these alleged incidents, I would be grateful for your cooperation and observations on the following four matters:
1. Post-election mob violence: How many persons have been killed in the post-election violence in Kenya? What measures were and are being taken by your Government to protect people from violence by armed mobs? In particular, please explain the circumstances of the Elderot church killings.
2. Investigation and prosecution: What efforts have been undertaken to promptly and thoroughly investigate the alleged killings by armed mobs? Have the alleged perpetrators been detained and charged? What measures will be taken to ensure their prosecution? Please indicate specifically what measures have been taken to hold to account those responsible for the Elderot church killings.
3. Killings by police: With respect to alleged killings by your law enforcement officials, please: (a) clarify what laws and regulations govern the use of force by police; (b) detail the investigations which have been or will be conducted into killings by police; (c) indicate whether any police have been charged or prosecuted for killing civilians; (d) explain what processes are or will be put in place to independently and comprehensively investigate the alleged killings by your law enforcement officials.
4. Shoot to kill order: Was a “shoot to kill” order ever issued by your Government or any police officials? If so, please provide the precise terms of the “shoot to kill” order. Specifically, please indicate: (a) over what period of time and in what circumstances the order applied; (b) who issued the order; (c) to whom the order gave authority to “shoot to kill”; (d) any limits on the use of force provided by the order.
Kyrgyzstan: Death in Custody of Tashkenbai Moidinov
Violation alleged: Death in custody
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male (foreign national)
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Kyrgyzstan with respect to the death of Tashkenbai Moidinov. The SR would request that the Government continues to update him on the status of the criminal proceedings.
Allegation letter dated 17 October 2006
I would like to draw your Excellency’s attention to our correspondence, (reflected in my report to the Commission on Human Rights E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1 p. 141-143), relating to the death in custody of Tashkenbai Moidinov in December 2004 at a regional militia office in Bazar-Kurgan. In its response dated February 2005, your Excellency’s Government informed that a criminal case investigation had been open by the Bazar-Korgon procurator’s office.
As further indicated in my observations, I would be grateful if your Government could provide me with information relating to the results of the above mentioned investigation. I would also like to know if any penal or disciplinary sanctions were imposed and if any compensation was provided to the families of M. Tashkenbai Moidinov.
Response from the Government of Kyrgyzstan dated 22 March 2007
On 24 October 2004, T. Moidinov, a detainee being held in administrative custody, hanged himself in the premises of the internal affairs authorities of Bazar-Korgon district, i the Jalal-Abad province of Kyrgyzstan. During the inspection of the scene of the incident and of Mr. Moidinov’s body, no traces were found of a struggle, nor were there any visible injuries on the body of the deceased.
Following the incident, on 19 November 2004, the Bazar-Korgon district procurator’s office in Jalal Abad province instituted criminal case No. 166-04-261 under articles 316 (Dereliction of duty) and 304, part 2 (Abuse of official position) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Kyrgyz Republic against the superintendent in the duty office of the internal affairs authorities of Bazar-Korgon district in Jalal-Abad province. On 10 December 2004, the investigation into the criminal case was concluded and the case was referred to the court for trial. On 21 September 2005, the criminal case was heard by the Suzak district court in Jalal Abad province and, under the provisions of article 66 of the Kyrgyz Code of Criminal Procedure (Reconciliation of the parties), the proceedings were discontinued. No compensation was paid to the family and relatives of the deceased. On 5 September 2006, the Jalal Abad provincial court heard a cassational appeal from T. Asanov, lawyer acting for the applicant Z. Moidinova, widow of T. Moidinov, and, under the provisions of article 373-6 of the Kyrgyz Code of Criminal Procedure, the decision of the Suzak district court was overturned and the case was reopened. On 9 October 2006, the criminal case was referred under the supervisory procedure to the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic and, to date, has not been returned for further consideration.

Afghanistan: death sentence of sayed perwiz kambaksh
Australia: death in custody of mulrunji
Bangladesh: attack on journalist sumi khan
Bangladesh: “crossfire” killings by the rapid action batallion
Brazil: killing of rodson da silva rodrigues, aurina rodrigues santana and paulo rodrigo santana
Brazil: killing of land rights activist valmir mota de oliveira
Chile: asesinato de matías catrileo quezada, activista por los derechos de la tierra.
Colombia: asesinato de susana particia galeano en argelia, antioquia
Respuesta del gobierno de colombia del 26 de julio de 2007
Colombia: muertes y amenazas de muerte contra líderes sindicales
Colombia: asesinato de francisco puerta
Respuesta del gobierno de colombia del 4 de abril de
Respuesta del gobierno de ecuador del 23 de abril de 2007
Ethiopia: accountability for deaths of demonstrators in june and november 2005
Guatemala: amenazas de muerte en contra de maynor roberto berganza betancourt y su familia
Honduras: muerte de heraldo zuñiga y de roger ivan cartagena
India: death in custody of raju roy s/o mr. badal roy
Response form the government of indonesia dated 31 july 2007
Islamic republic of iran: death sentences of seven men in connection with attacks linked to jondallah
Urgent appeal dated 20 june 2007 sent with the special rapporteur on the question of torture
Response from the government of the islamic republic of iran dated 19 february 2008
Islamic republic of iran: death sentence of soghra najafpoor
Islamic republic of iran: death sentence of mohammad reza haddadi
Kyrgyzstan: death in custody of akylbek sakeev
Malaysia: killing of five migrant workers
Mexico: muertes durante manifestaciones en oaxaca
Myanmar: death in custody of maung chan kun
Nigeria: ultimatum from the joint task force on the niger delta (jtf) to the leaders of the ughelli community
Pakistan: “shoot on sight” orders issued following clashes in karachi and the north west frontier province
Pakistan: “shoot to kill”-order issued in the context of parliamentary elections
Response from the government of the philippines dated 19 june 2007
Philippines: impunity for killing of leftist activists
Response from the government of the philippines dated 26 february 2008
Response from the government of saudi arabia dated 16 july 2007
Subject(s) of appeal:
Singapore: death sentences of tan chor jin, hamir hasim, kamal kupli and abdul malik
Sri lanka: killings of journalists and media workers
Response from the government of sri lanka dated 27 september 2007
Response from the government of sri lanka dated 26 march 2008
Syrian arab republic: honour killing of huda abu assaly
Response from the government of thailand dated 5 september 2007
United states of america: killing of civilians following air strikes in afghanistan
Venezuela (bolivarian republic of): amenazas de muerte contra tres jóvenes en caracas
Response from the government of viet nam dated 18 december 2007
Response from the government of zimbabwe dated 26 april 2007



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