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Prague: more reports of police brutality
from www.headheritage.co.uk/ 2nd Oct 2000
Following on from the protests in Prague, the police have been subjecting people arrested to wide scale and severe beatings and abuse. There are dozens of first-hand reports of systematic beatings. A group of Norwegian protesters were stood in an open yard with their hands tied above their heads for 20 hours. Every couple of hours police would come and beat them with truncheons to prevent them from sleeping.
Prisoners being moved from police stations to holding centres have had to walk down corridors lined with police who beat them with batons. Many people have been tied and laid on the ground while groups of policemen kicked and beat them. Arrestees have sustained broken fingers, broken teeth, and one a broken hip. Most of the arrestees we spoke to were denied any food for their time in custody, and denied any legal support or advice.
This is *not* for just one or two arrestees. This is *not* for those who were arrested for violent crimes or being suspected 'ringleaders'. This is random.
The Czech police are clearly feeling embarrassed and humiliated that, despite 11,000 police armed and armoured, protesters still got into the Conference Centre, and so a lot of the IMF/WB delegates didn't turn up the next day, so they cancelled the third day. The police are taking their revenge. These are still largely the same police who were trained and worked under the authoritarian Communist regime, and their attitudes and methods have not changed.
The Czech Republic is heading the queue to join the European Union. In the week when the European Convention on Human Rights was incorporated into the UK statutes, this could not be more relevant. Such abuses of basic human rights do not belong anywhere on earth.
Below are the contact details for the UK offices for Amnesty International, the Czech Embassy in London and the UK embassy in Prague. Please pleaseplease send a message of protest NOW. Faxes are preferred, as letters can take a while and emails are easily deleted. But ANYTHING is better than nothing.
There is strong evidence that interest from the outside works; Arrestees from France and Greece have been visited by staff from their embassies, and Spanish and Portuguese activists have received embassy support too. Reports of beatings against these groups are far less than those from the UK, Germany and the USA whose embassies have been pretty damn useless so far.
But more than anything, we need to stress outrage at the treatment of Czech detainees. Czech activists expressed huge support for the protest, but many were scared to turn out on the day for fear of reprisals from the police. However, over the following few days the police arrested many Czechs.
On the marches with all the confrontational stuff the press have made such a big do of there were about 60 arrests. The total is now near 1,000. Three quarters of them are Czech citizens.
Many have been arrested on peaceful demonstrations outside the police stations. The Czechs have no embassy to protest to, and are of less interest to the outside world. Consequently, they are getting the wost of the beating and torture.
Please forward this info as far and wide and *quickly* as possible. Thanks.
CZECH MINISTRY OF JUSTICE: firstname.lastname@example.org
CZECH PRESIDENT, VACLAV HAVEL: email@example.com
99-119 Rosebery Avenue
Tel: 0207 814 6200
Fax: 0207 833 1510
CZECH EMBASSY :
26, Kensington Palace Gardens,
London W8 4QY,
Phone: 0207 243 1115/ 0207 243 7920
Fax: 0207 727 9654
UK EMBASSY IN PRAGUE:
Phone: 0042 (0) 2575 30278
Fax: 0042 (0) 2575 30285
Contact details for Amnesty International in other countries can be found at http://www.web.amnesty.org/web/contacts.nsf
Contact details for Czech embassies in and for other countries can be found at http://www.motylek.com/e/visa-e.asp
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