A 16-year-old boy died after allegedly being beaten in police custody. The trial of a former president and 55 co-defendants charged with offences including human rights violations ended, with sentences of up to 30 years' imprisonment being imposed after the majority were convicted of various offences. In August Gónzalo Sánchez de Lozada of the Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (MNR), National Revolutionary Movement, succeeded Jaime Paz Zamora of the Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), Revolutionary Left Movement, as President of Bolivia, at the head of a coalition government. There were widespread strikes and demonstrations in protest at economic measures implemented by both governments, and against the new government's policy of "rationalization", which led to the dismissal of many workers from state-owned companies. Dozens of demonstrators, including trade unionists and students, were detained for short periods. In March Javier Ramirez Melchor, a 14-year-old student, was killed during violent clashes between trade unionists, students and members of the police and the army in Potosí. He allegedly died after being hit by a tear-gas canister. Several demonstrators and members of the armed forces were injured and dozens of students were arrested and subsequently released. Reports of ill-treatment of detainees by the police continued. In June, 16-year-old Ramiro González Torrico was arrested in Oruro by the police on suspicion of committing a mugging. He was detained at the headquarters of the Policia Criminalística, Criminal Investigation Police. According to his relatives, he was beaten in police custody to make him confess to the crime. A week later he was transferred to hospital where he subsequently died, reportedly as a result of head injuries. In July the President of the Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Cámara de Diputados, Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, reportedly stated that the commission would request a thorough investigation into the incident, in order to safeguard and improve the deteriorating image of the police force. However, no such investigation had reportedly been initiated by the end of the year. The authorities also failed to investigate cases of ill-treatment and torture of political detainees in previous years (see Amnesty International Reports 1989 to 1993) and allegations of extrajudicial executions in 1990 (see Amnesty International Reports 1991 to 1993). The Juicio de Responsabilidades (responsibilities trial), in which former President Luis García Meza, his Minister of Interior and 54 co-defendants were accused of crimes including human rights violations (see Amnesty International Reports 1985 to 1993), concluded in the Supreme Court in April. All were tried in absentia, but 11 were detained for sentencing. In an unprecedented action, the Supreme Court convicted 47 of the accused: six defendants were absolved of various economic crimes, and three had died between the start of the trial in 1986 and its conclusion in 1993. Luis García Meza was sentenced in absentia to 30 years' imprisonment without a right to pardon and 46 others to sentences ranging from one to 30 years' imprisonment. The defendants were convicted of various crimes, including killings and torture of government opponents, during the period of military rule between July 1980 and August 1981 (see Amnesty International Reports 1981 to 1983). By the end of the year, only nine of those sentenced by the Supreme Court were serving their sentences. In April Amnesty International sent an observer to the final stages of the Juicio de Responsabilidades (responsibilities trial). An Amnesty International delegation which visited Bolivia in May met the Minister of Interior, Migration and Justice and expressed concern both about reported extrajudicial executions, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners since 1989 and the authorities' failure to investigate these allegations. In November Amnesty International published a report, Bolivia: Cases of torture and extrajudicial executions allegedly committed by the Bolivian security forces, which it submitted to the new government and urged the new authorities to ensure that all allegations of extrajudicial executions, torture and ill-treatment were fully investigated and that those responsible for such abuses were brought to justice. The organization also called on the authorities to introduce safeguards to protect all detainees from torture and ill-treatment.

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