HRW demands independent probe into 12 Burkina jail deaths

OUAGADOUGOU (AFP) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) called yesterday on the Burkina Faso authorities to hold an independent investigation into the jail cell deaths of 12 men whose relatives said were executed by the security forces.

The 12 men, among 25 arrested for “suspected acts of terrorism,” were found dead in their cells at Tanwalbougou, in the east of the country, the local prosecutor announced on May 13.

The local gendarmerie has already launched an investigation into their deaths. But Human Rights Watch said the Burkina Faso authorities “should credibly and independently investigate alleged extrajudicial executions of 12 men” detained by gendarmes on May 11.

“Suspects winding up dead hours after being taken into custody during counterterrorism operations is a strong indication of foul play,” Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.