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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025            

Dominican Republic

The National Human Rights Commission and NGOs report that security forces committed more than 100 extrajudicial killings in 2017, and that law enforcement agents continue to engage in torture in order to extract confessions from detainees.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Dominican Republic: Police routinely use rape and commit other forms of torture to punish women sex workers

Amnesty International AI, 28 March 2019

[accessed 20 May 2019]

The country also has one of the region’s highest femicide rates, with more than 100 cases recorded in 2017, according to the UN Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean. Similarly, 47 transgender women have been killed since 2006, according to the transgender-led NGO Trans Siempre Amigas (TRANSSA).

At least 10 of the 24 cisgender women interviewed for this report said police officers had raped them, often at gunpoint. Most of the transgender women had also suffered discriminatory and violent actions (typically focused on their gender-identity or expression) at the hands of the police, that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Dominican Republic

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 16 July 2021]


In May sex workers in Santo Domingo reported to news outlets that police officers routinely beat them as the sex workers attempted to work in violation of COVID-19 prohibitions.

Impunity was a problem within certain units of the security forces, particularly the national police.


Reports of mistreatment and violence in old-model prisons were common, as were reports of harassment, extortion, and inappropriate searches of prison visitors. Some old-model prisons remained effectively outside the control of authorities, and there were reports of drug trafficking, arms trafficking, prostitution, and sexual abuse in those prisons. Wardens at old-model prisons often controlled only the perimeter, while inmates controlled the inside with their own rules and system of justice. Although the law mandates separation of prisoners according to severity of offense, authorities did not do so.


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported cases of Haitian migrants and their children, as well as Dominicans of Haitian descent, being detained and deported because authorities did not permit them to retrieve immigration or citizenship documents from their residences.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 May 2020]


Murder and other violent crimes rates are high. Prisons are overcrowded. More than half of all people in the country’s prisons are pretrial detainees, some of whom spend as long as three years in detention.

The National Human Rights Commission and NGOs report that security forces committed more than 100 extrajudicial killings in 2017, and that law enforcement agents continue to engage in torture in order to extract confessions from detainees.

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.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

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.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 31 December 2018]

Scroll Down


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]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

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]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 12 May 2020]

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>]