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Mozambique police justice 'rare'

A policeman on a street of Mozambique's capital, Maputo, during February's protests over bus fares
The police say convicted officers are often jailed for more than 20 years

Police in Mozambique are rarely brought to justice for the unlawful killing of civilians, rights group Amnesty International says.

"The families of those who are killed do not get any justice," Amnesty's Muluka Ann-Mit said.

Amnesty says 46 people have died at the hands of the police since 2006.

The police said the findings were biased and officers who had carried out unlawful killings had been convicted and jailed for more than 20 years.

'Indiscriminate firing'

"Police officers are not taken to trial, families do not get any compensation for the loss of their loved ones, and they don't get to find out the truth about what happened," Ms Ann-Mit told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

The organisation cites the case of dancer and choreographer Augusto Cuivias.

In December 2007 Mr Cuivias heard a noise while he was at home with his partner and son.

He called the police, who said they had no transport. So he called his former wife, who drove the police to the home.

When they arrived, the police opened fire indiscriminately, killing Mr Cuivias and his guard, Amnesty International says. His partner suffered a miscarriage.

Although two members of the police were arrested, no disciplinary action has apparently been taken against any officer. Amnesty says this is typical.

Families are unable to find out why their relatives are killed and, without money, they have little hope of getting justice.

Amnesty says it was told there was no need for an investigation, since the killings are lawful.



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