Target: Mayor General Manuel E. Castro Castillo, Chief of Police
Goal: Denounce the torture of two Dominican men in police custody and demand that those responsible be brought to justice
Luis Manuel Lember Martinez and Eduardo Luis Cruz recently spent time in police custody in Santo Domingo, where they were allegedly tortured. The men continue to be monitored and intimidated by police, and Ana Patricia Fermin, a relative who has condemned the police force for its brutality, has also been followed. Sign the petition and demand protection for Martinez, Cruz, and Fermin, and call for those responsible for their ill-treatment to be brought to justice.
Martinez and Cruz were arrested on charges of carrying illegal weapons after they allegedly refused to give bribes to officers who approached them on the street. Martinez was shot in the leg, and Cruz was forced to hang a water bottle from his testicles. Both men were savagely beaten over their entire bodies.
When Fermin tried to visit her relatives in custody following their arrest, she was called a criminal, charged 50 pesos to see Martinez and Cruz, and threatened with death if she went to the media. Nevertheless, Fermin did “publicly denounce the torture and ill-treatment of her relatives,” Amnesty International reports.
Two days after their arrest, the men were brought to the Office of the Public Prosecutor, who immediately dismissed the charges against them for lack of evidence. The office also opened up investigations into the alleged torture. Despite these somewhat positive steps, Martinez, Cruz, and Fermin need more help; Cruz has been receiving threats since his release, and Fermin has been followed and has seen her relatives’ arresting officer outside her house.
The police is meant to protect citizens from harm, not be a source of it. Sign the petition and demand protection for Martinez, Cruz, and Fermin in accordance with their wishes, and ask the chief of police to bring those officers responsible for their ill-treatment to justice.
Dear Chief of Police,
I am writing to express my deep concern and disgust over the treatment Luis Manuel Lember Martinez and Eduardo Luis Cruz were recently subjected to while in custody at the Los Rieles police station in Santo Domingo. I urge you to protect them from further harm and bring those responsible for their ill-treatment to justice.
Martinez and Cruz were arrested on charges of illegal weapons after allegedly refusing to comply with officers’ requests for bribes. The torture they suffered is outrageous and inexcusable: Martinez was shot, and police “later introduced a padlock in his wound,” Amnesty International reports; Cruz had a water bottle hung from his testicles. Both men were savagely beaten over their entire bodies.
Although the men have been released after the Public Prosecutor dismissed the charges against them due to a lack of evidence, they continue to suffer as a result of their imprisonment. Cruz has received threats ever since he was released, and Ana Patricia Fermin, a relative who publicly denounced the police force for its ill-treatment of the men, has been followed and has reported seeing Martinez and Cruz’s arresting officer outside her home.
The Office of the Public Prosecutor has already opened an investigation into the alleged torture and ill-treatment the men have suffered. This is a positive start, but more must be done. I urge you to fully cooperate with the investigation, to remove all officers involved in the incident from active duty while the investigation is underway, and to offer protection to Martinez, Cruz, and Fermin in accordance with their wishes.
Officers who engage in torture and intimidation are a disgrace to the police force and are not worth protecting. I urge you to do all in your power to bring those responsible for the ill-treatment of Martinez, Cruz, and Fermin to justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: K-Bien via Wikimedia Commons