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A human rights organisation,
Amnesty International, says the use of torture is the only form of
interrogation used by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on suspects.

AI added that the major forms of
torture included beating, starvation, prolonged detention and hanging.

Damian Ugwu, Amnesty
International’s Nigeria Researcher, said this on Wednesday while presenting a
report on the use of torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment by the
Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The report is sequel to a 2014
report issued by AI titled, ‘Welcome to hellfire: Torture and other
ill-treatment in Nigeria,’ which revealed that torture and other ill-treatment
were widespread and routine in military and police custody across Nigeria

The report partly reads, “Torture
continues to be the first and sometimes the only form of interrogation by SARS.
Officers in SARS continue the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment (other ill-treatment) of detainees in their
custody.

“Detainees, both men and women, are
subjected to various methods of torture and ill-treatment in order to extract
information and ‘confessions.’

“Such methods include prolong
detention, severe beating, hanging, and starvation, shooting in the legs, mock
executions and threats of execution. Amnesty International’s research found
that the majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable
to hire legal representatives.”

The report added that SARS officers
involved in the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were rarely held
to account and in some cases were transferred to another location to avoid
punishment.

It stated that officers at SARS had
become rich by demanding bribes and extorting money in form of bail from
suspects.

The report added that most of the
victims of police brutality were the poor.

It added, “Despite the fact that
bail is free, we found cases of corruption and abuse of power in SARS. During
this research, we documented cases and received reports from lawyers, human
rights defenders and journalists that some SARS’ police officers demand bribes,
extort money from criminal suspects and their families, and steal from criminal
suspects on a regular basis.

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