Madagascar: Investigate police ill-treatment of villagers
Responding to a video showing Malagasy police beating and humiliating dozens of villagers in the same town where, in February 2017, law enforcement officials turned on citizens and set fire to their houses after two policemen were killed, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa:
“The behaviour of the police, as depicted in the video, is utterly abhorrent and condemnable. This brutality shows the contempt with which the police in Madagascar treat human life.
“It is totally unacceptable that the Malagasy police should ill-treat and abuse the same people they have a duty to protect. There is no justification for beating people with sticks, forcing them to lie face-down or making them walk on their knees.
“The authorities should carry out a prompt and impartial investigation into the police’s conduct and bring any officer suspected to be responsible to justice in proceedings that meet international standards. The authorities should also provide redress to the victims.”
On 22 February 2017, police officers burnt down five villages in Antsakabary town, northern Madagascar, after two of their colleagues were allegedly killed by villagers four days earlier. An elderly woman died from burns during the attack, as she was unable to escape.
The two police officers had come to arrest villagers accused of stealing a duck but were met by villagers who accused them of racketeering, resulting in violence.
The video of the police brutality, uploaded to Facebook, was verified by Amnesty International.