[Ppnews] Puerto Rico - Amnesty 2008 Report

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 29 15:19:40 EDT 2008



Head of State George W Bush
Head of government Aníbal Aceveda-Vilá
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 4 million
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 12/10 per 1,000

There were continuing concerns about the 
excessive use of force by Federal Bureau of 
Investigation (FBI) agents and police brutality.

Police and security forces

An inquiry by the Office of Inspector General 
(OIG) into the killing of independence activist 
Filiberto Ojeda Ríos by the FBI in September 2005 
raised a number of concerns. The inquiry had 
cleared the FBI of wrongdoing. However, Amnesty 
International remained concerned that the 
discharge by police of more than 100 rounds of 
ammunition into a building which may have housed 
unarmed individuals appeared inconsistent with 
international standards on the use of deadly 
force. It also questioned the level of perceived 
threat from within the house, given as the basis 
for the FBI delaying entry after Filiberto Ojeda 
Ríos was shot and fatally wounded; and whether he 
posed an immediate threat to life when he was 
shot. Amnesty International called for a review 
of FBI standards on the use of deadly force and 
asked what measures the US government had taken 
to address the OIG’s criticisms of aspects of the 
planning and execution of the operation. No 
response from the US government had been received by the end of the year.

Amnesty International received no response to its 
request for information about whether an 
investigation had been carried out into 
allegations that members of the FBI had used 
pepper spray and unjustified force against a 
group of journalists in February 2006.

There were complaints of police brutality during 
a crackdown on drugs crime in Villa Cañona, a 
neighbourhood in the town of Loíza. Residents 
complained that officers from the Puerto Rico 
Police Department conducted indiscriminate strip 
searches of black youths, subjecting them to 
racial abuse and, in some cases, physical assault.

In December, an external inquiry was appointed to 
investigate reports of police ill-treatment of 
unarmed demonstrators protesting against a luxury 
coastal housing development. Demonstrators 
blocking lorry access to the site at Paseo Caribe 
were allegedly punched or dragged across the 
ground, with a number sustaining injuries.

Amnesty International reports

Rico: Amnesty International concerned at reports 
of police violence against unarmed demonstrators (AMR 47/001/2007)
Rico: Amnesty International’s concerns regarding 
the FBI shooting of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos (AMR 51/198/2007)

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