Two men were reportedly tortured while in police custody in the Dominican Republic on 12 April. Since then, the men and their relative Ana Patricia Fermín have faced intimidation and death threats after she denounced the torture to the media.
On 12 April Luis Manuel Lember Martínez, 21, and Eduardo Luis Cruz, 24, were allegedly approached by police officers requesting a bribe in Los Alcarrizos, an area in the northern outskirts of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. When the two men declined to bribe the officers, the officers arrested them under the accusation of carrying an illegal weapon. Both men were hand-cuffed and taken to the Los Rieles police station.
According to information received, both men were tortured during two hours under police custody and were threatened with death if they reported it. Luis Manuel Lember Martínez was allegedly shot in the leg by police officers on the way to the police station, and they later introduced a padlock in his wound. Both men said to have been severely beaten on the buttocks with a plank, had their heads wrapped with black bags and been beaten in the head, the arm and the chest. Luis Manuel reported being given electric shocks in his legs. Eduardo Luis Cruz told Amnesty International he was beaten with a plank in the testicles and had a bottle of water hung from them.
Ana Patricia Fermín, a relative of both men, visited Los Rieles police station on 12 April. A police officer called her a “criminal” and requested 50 pesos to allow her to see the men. The officer reportedly threatened her with death if she talked to the media, however she did then publicly denounce the torture and ill-treatment of her relatives. On 13 April both men were brought to Las Caobas police station, and Luis Manuel Lember Martínez sent to a hospital. The following day they were brought to the Office of the Public Prosecutor who ordered their immediate release due to lack of evidence, and apparently opened an investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment. Both men were later brought to the hospital. Ana Patricia told Amnesty International that she noticed the police officer allegedly responsible for the torture passing by her house with a car on 15 April, and reported to have been followed by four men on two motorcycles. Luis Manuel also received threats following his release on 14 April.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to immediately investigate the allegations that the two men were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and along with Ana Patricia Fermín threatened with death, and bring those responsible to justice;
- Calling on them to ensure that all police officers identified as being involved in the torture, ill-treatment, and death threats are immediately suspended from duty until the judicial investigation is satisfactorily concluded;
- Urging them to immediately ensure the safety of Ana Patricia Fermín, Luis Manuel Lember Martínez, Eduardo Luis Cruz, and their families, in accordance with their wishes, and protect them from any intimidation.