Torture in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                    

Dominican Republic

The country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Although 2007 saw inflation around 6%, the rate grew to over 12% in 2008. High food prices, driven by the effects of consecutive tropical storms on agricultural products, and education prices were significant contributors to the jump.

Although the economy is growing at a respectable rate, high unemployment and underemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: DominicanRepub

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in the Dominican Republic.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Threatened with death after torture

Amnesty International AI, AI-Index: AMR 27/006/2014, 16 April 2014

[accessed 19 April 2014]

[select ENGLISH]

According to information received, both men were tortured during two hours under police custody and were threatened with death if they reported it. Luis Manuel Lember Martínez was allegedly shot in the leg by police officers on the way to the police station, and they later introduced a padlock in his wound. Both men said to have been severely beaten on the buttocks with a plank, had their heads wrapped with black bags and been beaten in the head, the arm and the chest. Luis Manuel reported being given electric shocks in his legs. Eduardo Luis Cruz told Amnesty International he was beaten with a plank in the testicles and had a bottle of water hung from them.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 21 Jan 2014]

IMPUNITY - Many alleged abuses by the police remained unpunished, despite compelling evidence.

The authorities failed to clarify the enforced disappearance of Gabriel Sandi Alistar and Juan Almonte Herrera. The men were last seen in police custody in July and September 2009 respectively. Their whereabouts remained unknown at the end of 2012.

In February, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights established state responsibility for the enforced disappearance of journalist Narciso González Medina in 1994. In October, the Court found the state responsible for the killing of seven Haitian migrants by members of the armed forces in 2000.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 24 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such practices, security force personnel, primarily mid-level and lower-ranking members of the police, continued to torture, beat, and otherwise physically abuse detainees and prisoners.

The law provides penalties for torture and physical abuse, including sentences of 10 to 15 years in prison. Civilian prosecutors sometimes filed charges against police and military officials alleging torture, physical abuse, and related crimes. New abuse and torture cases were remanded to civilian criminal courts as they arose; mid-level officers sometimes contested civilian jurisdiction (see section 1.e.).

Senior police officials took the prohibition on torture and physical abuse seriously, but lack of supervision, training, and accountability throughout the law enforcement and corrections systems undercut efforts to contain the problem. Human rights groups reported repeated instances of physical abuse of detainees, including various forms of torture, beatings, and sexual abuse.

According to human rights organizations, both the National Police and prison officials used forms of torture. The method most often used was beating. Human rights organizations also reported asphyxiation with plastic bags to elicit confessions as a form of torture.

Lawyers from the National District Prosecutor's Office monitored the investigative process to ensure that detainees' rights were respected in high-volume police stations and in several National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD) offices (see section 1.d.). There was some evidence that assistant prosecutors at times acquiesced in traditional police practices rather than attempt to raise these practices to constitutional standards. However, with the implementation of the new Criminal Procedures Code in September 2004, detainees received additional protections, and respect for detainee rights improved, including through increased enforcement of time limits for pretrial detention (see section 1.d.).

Both the National Police and armed forces offered training courses in human rights (see section 1.d.).

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 24 January 2013]

The judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court, is politicized and riddled with corruption, and the legal system offers little recourse to those without money or influence. However, reforms implemented in recent years, including measures aimed at promoting greater efficiency and due process, show some promise of increasing citizen access to justice. In 2004, a new criminal procedures code gave suspects additional protections, and a new code for minors improved safeguards against sexual and commercial exploitation.

Extrajudicial killings by police remain a problem, and low salaries encourage endemic corruption in law enforcement institutions. However, the Fernandez administration has undertaken serious police reform efforts and has begun to refer cases of military and police abuse to civilian courts instead of nontransparent police or military tribunals.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Dominican Republic",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Dominican Republic]  [other countries]