Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Timor Police Brutality Video

The video above shows East Timorese police beating a man who's only "crime" appears to be carrying a sign. This is shocking enough. That several UN police officers stood by as the beating went raises many questions about the UN's role as mentor and trainer of Timor-Leste's police. If the international police won't intervene as police brutality takes place right in front of them, what lessons are they teaching Timor's police?

The release of the video comes after several police officers are accused of killing a young Timorese man at a party at the end of last year. These and other event reflect a disturbing pattern. As a young country, Timor-Leste has a chance to create a police culture which respects and defends human rights. To do so, Timor will need international police mentors who understand this and Timor-Leste will need overcome the legacy of Indonesia's occupation and its official brutality.

Finally, given all the security personnel never held accountable for serious human rights crimes over the last 35 years, I wouldn't be surprised if these officers assumed their would be no consequences for their actions - even with cameras and the President present. We hope the new nation's justice system provides some justice victim.

John M. Miller
National Coordinator, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

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