Amnesty Int’l accuses SARS of extreme torture and theft

Amnesty International has accused men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) of engaging in torture and theft.

The body said SARS operatives are in the habit of stealing from suspects. They also accused them of engaging in torture to extract bribe from suspects.

In a press document released on Wednesday by the human rights group it alleged that suspects were often subjected to cruel methods that include starvation, hanging, beating and mock execution as means of extracting bribe.

According to the statement an armed robbery suspect whose house in Nsukka was searched said, “The police team from SARS forcefully broke into boxes, locked furniture and drawers. By the time they left, several items including watches, jewellery and shoes were missing. We were too scared to report the incident”.

Another suspect, a 25 year old fuel attendant in Anambra State who was accused by his employer of connivance in burglary at his property said, “The policemen asked me to sign a plain sheet. When I signed it, they told me I have signed my death warrant. They left me hanging on a suspended iron rod. My body ceased to function. I lost consciousness. When I was about to die they took me down and poured water on me to revive me”.

The group said it was yet to see the reforms promised by the police in 2015.

“When a new Inspector General of Police was appointed in early 2015 it was announced that there would be reform and reorganisation of SARS, but officers attached to the unit told Amnesty International they were not aware of the reforms”, the statement said.

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