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AI Calls for Investigation of Excessive Force in Miami Protests

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  • Dan Clore
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE AI Index: AMR 51/142/2003 (Public) News Service No:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2003
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      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
      AI Index: AMR 51/142/2003 (Public)
      News Service No: 268
      26 November 2003
      USA: Allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment
      of protestors in Miami

      Amnesty International called today for a full and
      independent inquiry into allegations of excessive use of
      force by police during demonstrations in Miami on 20th
      November. The organization has also received dozens of
      reports of ill-treatment of those detained during the
      demonstration.

      Police are reported to have fired rubber bullets and used
      batons, pepper spray, tear gas canisters and concussion
      grenades on crowds demonstrating against the Free Trade Area
      of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations, leaving some people
      hospitalized and dozens more treated for injuries. Scores of
      people, including journalists and observers, were arrested
      during the demonstration, some reportedly subjected to
      ill-treatment in detention. Amnesty International is
      currently gathering more information on the reported violations.

      "The level of force used by police does not appear to have
      been at all justified." Amnesty International said, noting
      reports that only a small minority of demonstrators had
      engaged in acts of violence.

      Miami Police Chief John Timoney today issued a letter to the
      media stating that his department would be undertaking a
      comprehensive review of the FTAA security operation and
      would produce a public report.

      "Any investigation into the violence in Miami must be fully
      independent and must also look into allegations of
      ill-treatment following arrest. If the force used is shown
      to have been excessive, then those involved should be
      disciplined, measures put in place and training given to
      ensure future policing operations in Miami conform to
      international standards.", Amnesty International stressed.

      Amnesty International is investigating reports that some of
      those arrested during the demonstrations have been subjected
      to ill-treatment while in detention. One woman is reported
      to have been strip-searched by four male officers and left
      naked. Other reports suggest that detainees have been beaten
      and sprayed with pepper gas and high-powered water hoses
      inside Dade County Jail.

      "If these allegations are true, Amnesty International would
      call on anyone found responsible to be brought to account in
      accordance with international standards" Most of those
      arrested are reported to have since been released, but
      Amnesty International is seeking information as to the legal
      status of any still held.

      An event organized by the Miami chapter of Amnesty
      International during the demonstration was also hindered by
      police who surrounded the area and refused people access.

      Background

      Thousands of people took part in the demonstrations
      organized during the Free Trade Area of the Americas
      negotiations in Miami on 20 and 21 November. Around 250
      people were detained, most released on misdemeanour charges
      including "disobeying" police orders to disperse, unlawful
      assembly and resisting arrest.

      Amnesty International is advocating for regulations
      requiring all weapons that launch kinetic impact devices
      (objects which hit people) to be treated for practical
      purposes as firearms, and therefore to be used only by
      trained firearms officers and then strictly in accordance
      with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and
      Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers, which state, inter
      alia, that "Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms
      against persons except in self-defence or defence of others
      against the imminent threat of death or serious injury".


      Public Document
      ****************************************
      For more information please call Amnesty International's
      press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
      Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:
      http://www.amnesty.org

      For latest human rights news view:
      http://news.amnesty.org

      --
      Dan Clore

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