Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2000 - Mauritius

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 June 2000
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2000 - Mauritius , 1 June 2000, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa0b44.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Republic of Mauritius

Head of state: Cassam Uteem
Head of government: Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam
Capital: Port Louis
Population: 1.1 million
Official language: English
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes

The death in police custody of a well-known singer brought into sharp focus an ongoing problem of police brutality, which included the use of torture to extract confessions and the use of excessive force during arrests.

Death in police custody

On 21 February the popular singer known as Kaya (real name Joseph Reginald Topize) died in police custody in the capital Port Louis, three days after his arrest for smoking cannabis. An autopsy obtained by his family revealed signs of beating, contradicting police claims that his injuries had been self-inflicted. An official inquiry into his death had not been completed by the end of 1999.

Police brutality

Kaya's death provoked several days of rioting and protests, fuelled by ethnic tensions, during which another singer, Berger Agathe, was killed after being hit by a rubber bullet during a demonstration on 22 February.

Dozens of criminal suspects were ill-treated in detention throughout the year and some were tortured into making confessions.

AI wrote to the government expressing its concern about continuing police brutality and calling for the findings of the inquiries into the deaths of Berger Agathe and Kaya to be made public. The organization also expressed its dismay that a National Commission on Human Rights, approved by parliament in December 1998, had still not been established by the end of 1999.

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