Thursday, 2 March 2017

Philippine police 'plant evidence' in drugs war - report

A damning report has called on the UN to intensify its efforts to investigate unlawful killings in the Philippines drug war, which has left more than 7,000 people dead since last summer.
Officially, police in the Philippines say around 2,500 of the deaths were the result of operations in which officers were engaged in shoot-outs, while the remainder are categorised as "under investigation" and attributed to vigilante gangs.

However, in its latest report, Human Rights Watch says its investigators have found evidence that police have carried out extrajudicial killings, sometimes falsely claiming they were acting in self-defence, other times planting evidence after the shooting in an effort to incriminate the targeted individual.

"Our investigations into the Philippine drug war found that police routinely kill drug suspects in cold blood and then cover up their crime by planting drugs and guns at the scene," said report author Peter Bouckaert.

The report echoes claims made previously by other human rights groups, including Amnesty International, who suggest the killings could amount to "crimes against humanity".

The Human Rights Watch investigation into 24 incidents that resulted in 32 deaths in the Metro Manila area over several months included interviews with victims' families and witnesses.

The report concludes that masked gunmen in civilian clothes appeared to be working closely with police.

In some cases, according to the report, suspects in police custody were later found dead and classified by police as "found bodies" or "deaths under investigation".

"Local residents often said they saw uniformed police in the vicinity before the incident, securing the perimeter, but even if not visible before a shooting, special crime scene investigators would arrive within minutes" the report, entitled License to Kill, says.

It comes just days after President Rodrigo Duterte suggested he was ready to end his suspension of the involvement of the Philippines National Police in the drug war.

SKY     News.