Prosecute guilty policemen in Andhra: Human Rights Watch

November 18th, 2008 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 18 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government should prosecute police officials responsible for the torture of 21 Muslims after a series of bombings in Hyderabad in May and August 2007, Human Rights Watch has said. After the blasts, the authorities detained approximately 100 Muslims for questioning. Of those later charged, 21 were released. On Nov 13, the Andhra Pradesh government admitted that these 21 had been tortured and announced financial compensation to all of them.

The government also promised additional financial assistance through government loans. But it has not initiated criminal proceedings against any police officers who ordered or carried out the torture.

“Acknowledging torture and providing compensation is a good first step,” said Human Rights Watch Monday. “But the government has to prosecute those responsible so that those who use torture will not get away with it.”

On May 18, 2007, at least nine people were killed when a bomb exploded outside Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, where thousands had gathered for Friday prayers.

On Aug 25, 2007, nearly 50 people died and scores were injured in two separate blasts in Hyderabad. There were arrests after each bombing.

The Hyderabad police initially suspected Islamist extremists of carrying out the attacks. Of those detained for questioning, most were released after a few days or weeks in custody.

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