Over 250 political detainees were held without trial in connection with the activities of armed separatists in the Casamance Armed conflict in the Casamance region between government forces and armed separatists belonging to the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC), Movement of Casamance's Democratic Forces, escalated in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections in February and May. President Abdou Diouf was re-elected and subsequent negotiations between the government and the MFDC culminated in a cease-fire agreement in early July. There was much controversy surrounding the elections: the President of the Constitutional Council resigned before the results of the presidential elections were announced; and in May, the day after the parliamentary election results were announced, the Vice-President of the Constitutional Council, Maître Babacar Sèye, was murdered. His murder increased political tension: the leader and other members of the main opposition party, the Parti démocratique sénégalais (PDS), Senegalese Democratic Party, were accused of complicity; suspects, including a PDS member of parliament, were tortured in custody; and one leading suspect who initially implicated opposition leaders alleged later that it was actually a government envoy who had commissioned him to kill Maître Babacar Sèye, while trying to make the killing look as if the PDS had organized it. The MFDC committed serious human rights abuses in the Casamance region, including deliberate killings of unarmed civilians. In a series of violent attacks at the time of the February elections, 28 people, both soldiers and civilians, including prospective voters and others involved in the elections, were killed by MFDC forces. Some 256 prisoners, most of whom had been detained in late 1992 or early 1993, were held without trial in connection with the Casamance conflict. All were unconditionally released in mid-July after the cease-fire agreement. More than half had been held in Dakar, the capital, but were sent back to Ziguinchor, regional capital of Casamance, following their release. It appeared that many of them had been held unlawfully, in breach of existing detention procedures, but the secrecy surrounding their cases made this impossible to confirm. Few of them had legal representation. Amnesty International delegates who visited Senegal in June were denied access to them. Many of the 256 were alleged to have been tortured. Both the army and the gendarmerie operating in the countryside of Casamance were reported to torture captives in order to obtain information about rebel movements. For example, Filidée Diédhiou, a hotel worker from Cap Skirring, was said to have been tortured by having molten plastic dripped on to his skin while he was detained for a week in January at a police station in Ziguinchor. Torture was also reported in Dakar and other parts of the country. The most widely publicized case was that of Mody Sy, a PDS member of parliament, who was arrested on 20 May on suspicion of providing weapons for the murder of Maître Babacar Sèye the week before. He alleged that he was tortured at a gendarmerie post in central Dakar by being suspended between two tables and having electric shocks applied to his fingers and genitals. After a week he was transferred to Dakar's central prison, bearing scars which were consistent with his allegations. Despite widespread publicity, the authorities did not agree to his lawyers' request that he be medically examined until 11 June: even then, the results were not made public or apparently disclosed to the lawyers, and a formal complaint lodged on 28 July and an internal gendarmerie inquiry had made no progress by the end of the year. In a related case, Ramata Guèye, a market seller, was arrested in July and tortured over two days at the gendarmeries in Thiès and Pout before being released uncharged. She was seriously bruised, had a sprained thumb and some of her hair was pulled out. Her complaints of torture were also publicized but, as in Mody Sy's case, the authorities apparently failed to take any action against those responsible. The army was responsible for "disappearances" and what appeared to be extrajudicial executions of villagers suspected of supporting the separatist movement in Casamance. Bruno Bassène, from Diakène village, reportedly "disappeared" after he was detained in January at a military check-point near Ziguinchor. A few days earlier he had apparently witnessed two extrajudicial executions near Diakène, when Théodore and Ignace Djivounouk were shot dead by government soldiers. Their bodies had then been tied, dragged some distance and mutilated. The cemetery at Diakène was later said to have been attacked by government forces when the two men were being buried. Seven other men "disappeared" in January after being detained by soldiers at Dar Salam village. They included Ousmane Bassène, Daniel Tandeng and Gaston Manga. Following the July releases, it appeared that at least 24 other people had "disappeared": although they were reported to have been detained they were not among those freed. New evidence emerged that government troops had killed at least 100 people at Kaguitt village in September 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993) following an attack there by MFDC separatists. Government soldiers had reportedly sealed off the village, rounded up all men and boys between the ages of 14 and 70, and killed them, either torturing them to death or extrajudicially executing them. Two others were taken away and "disappeared". The incident was surrounded by official secrecy and civilians were denied access to the village for some months after the incident. The authorities did not acknowledge that any unlawful killings had occurred and did not initiate any official inquiry. Amnesty International expressed concern to the government about reports of torture, "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions and called for official action to halt such abuses. In June Amnesty International representatives visited Senegal and met senior government legal officers and security officials. The authorities refused to provide any information about the detainees from Casamance and senior security officials would give no information at all. In June Amnesty International published a short report, Senegal: Opposition member of parliament tortured in police custody, about the torture of Mody Sy and others and the authorities' complete failure to investigate torture allegations, in breach of the commitment to do so that they had given to the UN Human Rights Committee in 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). Nor did the government investigate the reported "disappearances" or extrajudicial executions, despite appeals from Amnesty International. In September the Minister of Justice told Amnesty International that the existence of "slips" or "unfortunate mistakes" did not indicate a practice of torture. He also stated that formal complaints by Mody Sy and Ramata Guèye were being investigated, although no details were available nor was any progress reported by the end of the year. In November Amnesty International submitted a document to the authorities enumerating its concerns and urging them to ensure impartial inquiries into all allegations of torture and "disappearances". Amnesty International asked for details of the terms of reference of inquiries which were reportedly under way.
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