Covering events from January-December 2001

Republic Of Mauritius
Head of state: Cassam Uteem
Head of government: Anerood Jugnauth
Capital: Port Louis
Population: 1.2 million
Official language: English
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
2001 treaty ratifications/signatures: Optional Protocol to the UN Women's Convention; Optional Protocol to the UN Children's Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict

At least four detainees were reported to have died in police custody as a result of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Others alleged torture and ill-treatment by police at the time of arrest. The government established a National Human Rights Commission in April which opened investigations into allegations of police torture, but international standards for such inquiries appeared not to have been met.

Deaths in police custody

There were at least four deaths in custody as a result of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Neither these nor cases from previous years were investigated under open and thorough procedures.

  • Josian Kersley Bayaram died on 21 July in prison in Pointe aux Cannoniers, after his arrest for alleged drunkenness. An official autopsy concluded death by asphyxiation. His family disagreed with the police statement that he had committed suicide by hanging, objecting that there was no trace of strangulation on his neck but that there were deep wounds under his left eye and on his left forearm. They filed a complaint to the Police Complaints Bureau and to the National Human Rights Commission but were not informed of any progress in the investigations. They had the body exhumed two months after burial for a private autopsy.
Torture and ill-treatment

Several detainees accused police officers of torture or ill-treatment to extract confessions or as punishment for juvenile and petty criminal suspects.
  • Cehl Meeah, leader of the Hizbullah opposition party, who was held as part of a murder inquiry, alleged that in December 2000 police officers beat him, inserted needles into his fingernails and sexually abused him in an attempt to extract confessions. Investigations into his allegations by the Criminal Investigation Division of the police and the National Human Rights Commission were not completed at the end of the year. Police officers reportedly admitted beating him, but refused to cooperate with the investigations.
AI country reports/visits

  • Mauritius: Amnesty International calls for independent investigation of torture complaints (AI Index: AFR 39/001/2001)

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