Report says police brutality was unsubstantiated

Police presence at the IMF/WBG Annual Meetings in Prague

A report published last week concluded that that most of the complaints against police behavior at the IMF/World Bank demonstrations in Prague last September were unsubstantiated. The Ministry of Interior's own report also reached the general conclusion that police brutality against protestors was virtually nil. The conclusions have been derided by many human rights organisations, as Peter Smith explains.

Police presence at the IMF/WBG Annual Meetings in Prague
Groups such as Human Rights Watch and the Helsinki Citizens Assembly are naturally unhappy with the findings. The want an independent investigation into alleged abuses of power by the police at the time. Many of the detained protestors made complained that, for example, police interrogators hid their ID numbers, that they were denied a call to friends or relatives and that they were forced to sign confessions written in Czech, even if they did not understand the language.

The report claims that of the 380 complaints made against the police after the IMF/World Bank demonstrations, 280 were filed in a foreign language. Only 14 of the complaints were deemed serious enough by the commission to investigate further. Investigators citing a lack of clear evidence threw out the vast majority of those.

According to Vaclav Trojan of the Prague based Helsinki Citizens Assembly, the means for an independent investigation were simply not on offer. The Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said that after the IMF World Bank meeting there was a concerted Internet campaign to discredit the Prague police. According to Vaclav Trojan, though, some of the scenes on the streets of Prague were understandable. Only three of the police are set to be disciplined for minor offences, which human rights groups are charging completely negates the seriousness of the events in Prague last September. Mr Trojan again.