Amnesty calling for investigation into PNG police
Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into PNG police brutality after a video surfaced of a police dog attack.
Police in Papua New Guinea say they can't do anything about a video that's surfaced on the internet showing a pack of police dogs brutally attacking an unarmed man.
But Amnesty International says that response is typical of a police force with a pattern of brutality and a lack of accountability, and is calling for an independent investigation.
Jamie Tahana reports.
The graphic video, which hasn't been verified, shows at least five uniformed policemen and a clearly marked patrol car on the side of the road. A man is sitting cross-legged on the ground, screaming as the police seem to encourage three leashed dogs to attack him.
The attack carries on for a minute, with the dogs chasing the man as he attempts to escape before he finally flees into nearby bushland. The identity of the man, why he was apprehended, and his current condition remain unknown.The Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand, Grant Bayldon, says the video is distressing.
GRANT BAYLDON: This really amounts to torture by police forces there if it's proved to be legitimate, and certainly on a first look at it it has all the hallmarks of a genuine video, but it's really up to the PNG police to investigate and to ascertain that.
However, Mr Bayldon says police brutality isn't isolated. Last year, two police officers were arrested after 74 detainees were lined up and had their achilles tendons slashed by officers in Port Moresby. And last month, the notorious police mobile squad were implicated in clashes at the Australian asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island, which left a 23-year-old dead. Grant Bayldon says there is a brutal culture in PNG security forces that needs to be addressed.
GRANT BAYLDON: In PNG, we see a pattern there of brutality by police security forces and also a pattern of a lack of accountability and an unwillingness to investigate issues like this that come up.
The deputy police commissioner, Simon Kauba, says police haven't seen the video, despite it being widely circulated on the country's social media forums. He says somebody needs to come forward with a complaint and more details before police can investigate.
SIMON KAUBA: We have not received any report on that, I've asked my local commander of Port Moresby city, he doesn't seem to have any report there, he's asked the dog unit to try to establish the correct message.
JAMIE TAHANA: I mean, there's a minute video quite freely available.
SK: What I'm trying to, if what they saw in the social media, somebody out there is reporting it, and that somebody should come forward and report it to the police authority.
Mr Kauba says allegations of police brutality are concerning, but his hands are tied.
SIMON KAUBA: If it did occur, then fair enough; we would conduct an internal investigation. We have an internal affairs division that can address this. So we just don't seem to have any reports from the people who are responsible for reporting it to the social media, they're not reporting to the police authority.
Amnesty International says there's already enough evidence to demand a fully independent investigation, both into this attack, and general police brutality in PNG.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: