Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 07:41 GMT

Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 - Puerto Rico

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 24 May 2012
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Annual Report 2012 - Puerto Rico, 24 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fbe3917c.html [accessed 17 April 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.

Head of state: Barack H. Obama
Head of government: Luis G. Fortuño
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
Population: 4 million

A federal Justice Department investigation found a pattern of ill-treatment by officers of the Puerto Rico Police Department.

Police

In September, the US Justice Department issued a report documenting a "pattern and practice" of abuses by the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), including excessive force and unjustified shootings resulting in numerous injuries and deaths, and illegal searches and seizures. It found, among other things, that the police were responsible for the indiscriminate use of chemical agents, batons and other force against student demonstrators at the Sheraton Hotel, San Juan, in May 2010.

The report also noted "troubling evidence" that the PRPD failed to adequately police incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence, and routinely discriminated against people of Dominican descent.

The findings were the result of a three-year investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and included 133 recommendations for reform, including better training, policies and supervision. These were under review at the end of the year.

Freedom of expression

The Justice Department report documented a pattern of police attacks on non-violent protesters and journalists in a manner "designed to suppress" the right to freedom of speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

In May, Amnesty International Puerto Rico discovered that access to its website had been blocked to students using the Department of Education's computers. Although the block was subsequently lifted following protests by Amnesty International, the search term "advocacy" remained blocked by the Department at the end of the year.

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