Summary executions


Kyrgyzstan: Death in Custody of Akylbek Sakeev



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Kyrgyzstan: Death in Custody of Akylbek Sakeev
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 Kyrgyzstan has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 15 May 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
We would like to bring to your Government’s attention information we have received concerning Mr Akylbek Sakeev, aged 48, from Naryn. According to the information received:
He was arrested on 22 November 2006 at 19.15 by two officers from the city department of Naryn police at his home on suspicion of having stolen a calf. He was taken to the City Department of Internal Affairs of Naryn, where he was heavily beaten on his head, the torso and legs with hands and objects by Major Kozhomberdiev Bakyt, Major Tilebaldiev Bakyt, Captain Chapaev Taalajbek, Senior Lieutenant Toknalaiev Altynbek and a fifth officer. Three hours later a local ambulance was called to the police station, which found Mr Sakeev in a coma. On 23 November 2007 he died in hospital without waking up. The autopsy showed that 5 ribs were broken, as well as both legs below the knees, that his skull was fractured (with a piece of a skull bone damaging the brain) and that his internal organs were damaged. He also had bruises all over the body.
The police officially stated that, when they found Mr Sakeev on the street, he was already in a coma. However, in late November or early December 2006, they unofficially offered 6000 USD to the victim’s family, which they accepted.
On 25 November 2006, the city prosecutor’s office for Naryn opened an investigation into the death of the victim. In early January 2007 a forensic examination of the report from the initial autopsy was performed, which concluded that the damage to the head, which caused Mr Sakeev’s death, had been sustained prior to the detention. Based on the result of that examination, combined with a vague testimony of the victim’s brother obtained in unknown circumstances, the Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the cause of the Victim’s death was natural and therefore the case was closed “for lack of evidence” on 22 January 2007. Subsequently, the regional prosecutor’s office examined this decision as a matter of their routine review of all dismissed cases. On 14 February 2007, it returned the case back to Nary city prosecutor’s office requiring an additional investigation into the facts of the death of the victim.

It was reported that alleged perpetrators continue to work in the police and one of them recently received a promotion.


While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, 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.
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. In this respect, I 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.”
We would like to draw your Government’s attention to paragraph 1 of Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights which, “Condemns all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever and can thus never be justified, and calls upon all Governments to implement fully the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
We urge your Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned person 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 provided to the victim or the family of the victim.
Liberia: Death of Tuakerseh Gborgan following a Trial by Ordeal
Violation alleged: Impunity
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 female
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Liberia has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 30 July 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and Independent expert on technical cooperation and advisory services in Liberia
We would like to bring to your Government’s attention information we have received concerning 37 persons, among them Ms Oldlady Parker Geieh, aged 85, Ms Kargonal Jargue, aged 75, Ms Tuakarseh Gborgan, aged 70, Ms Martha Suomie, aged 49 and Mr Zaye Bonkre, aged 75, resident in Boutou, Nimba County. According to the information received:
In September 2006, the Buotou Town Chief, Mr George Olathe Morris, the Zone Chief, Mr Deemie Zoue, and the Youth Leader, Mr George Tomah, demanded money from various members of the community to cover the fees of a trial by ordeal practitioner, payment of which would save the victims from being subjected to the trial.
34 women and three men, who were unable to pay the fee demanded, were detained by local authorities in Buotou. A team of witchdoctors from Cote d’Ivoire, headed by Mr Gbah Anthone, was hired to perform the trial by ordeal. The town authorities later claimed that the persons to be subjected to the trial by ordeal had committed witchcraft and were responsible for causing a lack of development and employment in Buotou.
The 37 persons were then severely assaulted and forced to sit outside in the rain and sun and were denied food (only some received some food from their relatives). Their heads were shaved and mud and chilli pepper was rubbed on their heads, into wounds caused during the beating and into the women’s vaginas. They were threatened that they would be subjected to the "sassywood procedure", wherein the victim must prove his or her innocence by consuming poison without dying, and were ordered to confess to being witches.
They were released on 24 October 2006 following the intervention of LNP and UNPOL.
On 24 December 2006, Tuakerseh Gborgan died in Sanniquillie, apparently as a result of the injuries sustained during the trial by ordeal. Hunger and lack of adequate medical treatment may also have contributed to her death.
On 24 November 2006, police arrested eight people alleged to have participated in this procedure: Gbah Anthone, Tiah Francis, George Olathe Morris (Town Chief), Deemie Zoue (Zone Chief), Anthony Blah, Wesley Mobai, John Ola Alfred and Soun Wonue. The eight men were charged with aggravated assault on 27 November 2006 and released on bail by the Sanniquillie Magistrates’ Court the same day. The Youth Leader was not arrested. On 22 June 2007, Gbah Anthone was indicted for murder in the Nimba County Circuit Court. However, on 16 July, he was acquitted after the Circuit Court Judge granted a defence motion to dismiss the case on the ground that there was inadequate evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In his decision, the Judge referred to the lack of a valid coronial report and forensic investigation. There is neither a morgue nor a forensic practitioner in Nimba County. The prosecution case had also been weakened by a medical report it had tendered which was inconclusive in its findings regarding the deceased's condition at the time she first sought medical treatment. That medical report had been prepared by the son-in-law of one of the men who ordered the trial by ordeal, raising further concerns that the available medical evidence was neither impartial nor comprehensive. None of the other alleged perpetrators has been brought to justice as of now.
In accordance with the Executive Law, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has responsibility for overseeing “tribal government” and “administering the system of tribal courts” in Liberia. The MIA’s role includes the issuance of licences to sassywood practitioners and herbalists, among others, and it would appear that in practice this includes authorizing instances of trial by ordeal. Use of poison sassywood was publicly declared illegal at the end of 2006, but, in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Justice has initiated some prosecutions against practitioners of sassywood, it is reported that the Government has failed to send a strong and unambiguous message regarding the illegality of all forms of trial by ordeal and other arbitrary practices. Furthermore, MIA officials still authorize such ceremonies to go ahead. For example, in the case of Mr. Varney Quoy, a farmer and security guard who lives in the Po River area of Montserrado County, MIA officials allegedly were going to authorize a trial by ordeal to take place, until the Solicitor-General was seized of the matter and the case was transferred to the Office of the County Attorney in Monrovia. Judging by the description given by MIA personnel to UN personnel, the intended ceremony appeared to resemble a trial by ordeal in that there was a threat of serious harm as punishment, the procedure was arbitrary and it was to take place in the context of witchcraft or supernatural phenomena. It further appears that Mr Varney had been deemed to be guilty and the aim of the ceremony was not to determine guilt or innocence but was an attempt to prevent alleged future crimes. He was to take an oath and consume a substance that would punish him in the future if he broke that oath. The ceremony, which would not be permitted even under the Revised Rules and Regulations of the Hinterland, clearly violates the human rights guarantees contained in the Constitution and the international human rights treaties ratified or acceded to by Liberia.
It is also reported that trial by ordeal that is of a “minor nature” and does not “endanger life” is permitted by Art. 73 of the Regulations. Article 2 of those Regulations provides that they are to be applied to “such areas as are wholly inhabited by uncivilized natives”. The discriminatory basis of the Regulations is a breach of human rights guarantees under the Constitution and international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been ratified by Liberia. Moreover, the Regulations, which are subordinate legislation, are contrary to provisions of a variety of national Acts, including the Judiciary Law, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Law.
While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, we wish 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 like to draw your Government’s attention to paragraph 1 of Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights which, “Condemns all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever and can thus never be justified, and calls upon all Governments to implement fully the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
We would also like to refer your Excellency's Government to article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in particular: "1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
In this connection, we would like to refer Your Excellency's Government to the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Milan from 26 August to 6 September 1985 and endorsed by General Assembly resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985. In particular: “-5. Everyone shall have the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals using established legal procedures. Tribunals that do not use the duly established procedures of the legal process shall not be created to displace the jurisdiction belonging to the ordinary courts or judicial tribunals.”
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 provided to the victims or the families of the victims.
6. Please indicate the measure taken by your Government to prevent that further trials by ordeal take place in the country, in accordance with applicable national and international law.
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya: Death in Custody of Ismail Al Khazmi
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 the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 28 June 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
We would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received regarding Mr. Ismail Al Khazmi, who allegedly died in custody of your Excellency’s Government subsequent to his arrest on 17 June 2006.
According to the information we have received:
Mr. Ismail Al Khazmi is the son of Mr. Ibrahim Aboubekr Al Khazmi and Ms. Rahma Mohamed Al Daqel, born in 1976 in Beni El Walid, 100 kilo meters South of Tripoli. He was an engineer working in the oil fields of AGB GAS in Melita (Sebrata).
According to the information we have received, on 17 June 2006 at 11 a.m. agents of the internal security services (Al Amn Addakhili) arrested Mr. Al Khazmi at his place of work. According to the statements of his co-workers the detaining officers did neither show an arrest warrant nor inform him of the reasons for his arrest. It is not known where he was taken by the security officers. His parents repeatedly sought information on his fate, but the authorities refused to acknowledge that he had been detained and thus to provide any information.
It would appear, however, that Mr. Ismail Al Khazmi was held at Asseka prison in Tripoli, where he was repeatedly severely ill-treated. On 29 June 2006, he was again beaten and then suspended from the ceiling in the presence and under the direction of an Al Amn Addakhili officer. Three further Al Amn Addakhili officers were present. In the afternoon of 29 June 2006, Mr. Al Khazmi was taken away from the prison in a Peugeot car, unconscious but still alive. He has not been seen again thereafter.
On 1 May 2007, Mr. Ibrahim Aboubekr Al Khazmi, the father of Mr. Ismail Al Khazmi, was summoned to the office of the commander of Asseka prison, Mr. Mustapha Al Makeef. The prison commander told him that his son was dead and asked him to sign a document in order to obtain the mortal remains of Ismail Al Khazmi. The father asked for explanations concerning the death of his son and, not having received a reply that would satisfy him, insisted that an autopsy be carried out by a physician of his choice. The prison commander refused this request. Mr. Ibrahim Aboubekr Al Khazmi therefore retained a lawyer, who requested formally that an autopsy be carried out and filed a complaint against those responsible for Ismail Al Khazmi’s death.
The prosecutor general summoned the Al Amn Addakhili officers on duty at Asseka prison at the time of Ismail Al Khazmi’s detention there to obtain their statements. The Secretary of the Popular Committee on General Security, who is the Secretary in charge of the ministry of interior, however, opposed their appearance and refused to authorise an inquiry.
As of today, notwithstanding the threats and other forms of pressure received, Mr. Ibrahim Aboubekr Al Khazmi refuses to pick up his son’s mortal remains at the morgue of the Tripoli hospital as long as the circumstances of his son’s death are not clarified.
While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, we would like to draw your Government’s attention to the fundamental principles applicable under international law to this case. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 6 of the Covenant states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her 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. 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 (21/10/1982), paragraphe 9.2):
“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.”
In order to overcome the presumption of State responsibility for a death in custody, there must be a “thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances” (Principle 9 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions). This principle was reiterated by the 61st Commission on Human Rights in Resolution 2005/34 on “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions” (OP 4), stating that all States have “the obligation … to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.
The Commission added that this obligation includes the obligation “to identify and bring to justice those responsible, …, to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial measures, in order to … prevent the recurrence of such executions”. These obligations to investigate, identify those responsible and bring them to justice arise also under Articles 7 and 12 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We urge your Excellency’s Government to live up to its obligation under international law to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Ismail Al Khazmi expeditiously, impartially and transparently. This would appear to require lifting any obstacles to the proceedings reportedly initiated by the prosecutor general. It also would require an independent medical examination of the corpse, appropriate disciplinary action against any officials involved, and the payment of compensation to Mr. Al Khazmi’s family.
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? When and where did Mr. Al Khazmi die?
2. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any medical examination of Mr. Al Khazmi’s mortal remains. Please explain how the forensic medical expert(s) who carried out the autopsy was chosen and whether the choice has been accepted by the victim’s family.
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation, judicial or other inquiries which may have been carried out in relation to this case.
4. Please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken in relation to the death of Mr. Al Khazmi and of any sanctions, administrative and penal, imposed on persons found to be responsible for his death.
5. Please indicate whether compensation has been paid to the family of Mr. Al Khazmi.

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Venezuela (bolivarian republic of): amenazas de muerte contra tres jóvenes en caracas
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