India: Teenage boy and others threatened after torture claims
Being a teenager can be a stressful time in life. What were you worrying about when you were 15? Were you worrying about exams? Friends? Your parents? The future?
Whatever the concerns of your teenage years, you probably weren't worrying about being tortured. Or about intimidation, threats and pressure to withdraw your complaints about the police who tortured you.
This is the situation facing a 15 year old boy in Mumbai, India.
He was arrested in April with three other men, 25 year old Agnelo Valdaris, 23 year old Sufiyan Khan and another man, aged 19. They were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a robbery.
In an official statement, Sufiyan Khan and the two teenagers have said they were all subjected to various forms of torture, including being stripped, assaulted with belts and batons on their legs and buttocks and hung upside down. They say a police officer attempted to rape one man with a baton and made him urinate on himself. One of the men said he was forced to perform oral sex on two others.
The complaints also state that Agnelo Valdaris was beaten by two policemen with belts and batons for almost 2 hours and his requests for medical attention were ignored.
On 18th April Agnelo Valdaris's father was told his son had been hit by a train while trying to escape from police and died.
These allegations of torture are truly shocking and must be thoroughly investigated. But now, the boy and the two men he was detained face threats and pressure to withdraw their complaints.
All three were taken to hospital by police the day after their arrest. They said that at that time they were threatened and told to say their injuries were the result of a road accident.
On 19th May, a week after he had submitted a complaint, Sufiyan Khan was called to the same police station to collect a legal summons document. He says he was threatened by a policeman and asked to withdraw his complaint or face harassment by the police.
Torture is never acceptable. This teenage boy and the two men detained with him should not be in fear because they reported being tortured. All allegations of torture should be properly investigated and victims should be protected.
This action has now closed - thank you to everyone who wrote to the Indian authorities about this case.
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