GCI Reports: Youth Killed in Police Custody

Global Conscience Initiative’s Chief Executive Officer Samba Churchill has petitioned the Minister of Justice that Kumba police must take the responsibility for the death of Mr. Khan Ernest, a suspect who collapsed inside their cell and was abandoned in a corridor inside the police station until he gave up.

Police sources allege that the 22-year-old youth might have been tortured inside their cell by fellow inmates, and on investigations at the request of the Attorney General for the Southwest Province, one person who was in the cell when Khan Ernest was brought in, has been remanded by the Senior State Counsel of Kumba to await trial in connection to the death of Mr. Khan Ernest.

Global Conscience is of the very strong opinion that the police take the responsibility for the death of Mr. Khan by commission or omission, since it is their responsibility to protect the life of any person in their custody. GCI also demands that the police give immediate assistance to any one in their keeping. “The police failed in both responsibilities”, said the GCI CEO, “and this goes a long way to demonstrate how police abuse the rights of persons in their custody and compromise fundamental principles for the treatment of persons under any form of incarceration, in a bid to perfect their extortion from suspects”.

“The death of Mr. Khan in police custody raises some fundamental issues that it is expedient to consider now to avert similar unfortunate incidents in the future”, Mr. Samba said, calling on the Ministry of justice to set up a commission of inquiry that should after its investigation come up with recommendations directing and defining the responsibility of the police/gendarmes towards persons under their custody.

“We are really worried about how this kind of situation can be averted in the future, and how the police corps can be made more responsible and not negligent as they evidently are towards suspects in their custody. We think that in the present situation, until some persons are made to take the responsibility then no sanity can be achieved in the police corps, and we strongly opine that a Commission investigate the death and recommend the sanctions as well as some guidelines on police responsibility to suspects in custody.”

It should be recalled that two years ago, a police in Kumba set a suspect ablaze after having cuffed his hands behind and forced him to drink kerosene. The suspect later on died and the police inspector was found guilty of torture and of assault occasioning death. Curiously enough, the judge gave the policeman five years only, and expected the judgment would serve as a deterrent to police officers who took delight in torturing innocent persons causing them insurmountable troubles. The recent death in the Kumba police cell is evident that the sentenced has failed to achieve its aim to ensure greater sanity in the corps.