East Timor Police Beat Fisherman As UN Officer Watches (VIDEO)
A video that shows a UN officer watching as East Timor police beat a man protesting at an international fishing competition has caused concern among officials about the nature of the UN's role in the country.
The video, shot on Atauro island in November, 2009, shows Llhew Comacoshe, 27, being beaten by what appears to be police officers and other security personal. A blue-beret wearing UN Officer is clearly visible near the beating but does not appear to step in. Comascoshe appears to have been beaten for holding up a sign that says "Fishing Group from Maunroni Village". He has now been evicted from his home, according to reports.
UN peacekeepers are in the country in an effort to train local law enforcing personnel.
"We will be proposing a parliamentary commission of inquiry in addition to any current investigations to review guidelines, regulations and policies for police use of force, including armed response," Opposition Fretilin lawmaker Jose Teixeira told AFP.
"It makes us wonder what sort of training they have been getting, but it certainly is not a police service that is respectful of our citizens' constitutional and human rights," he said, asserting that complaints against local police happened on a daily basis.
"We are taking this matter very seriously," UN East Timor spokesman Gyorgy Kakuk told The Australian newspaper. "The investigation has to determine what has happened, why did it happen there and, as a result of that investigation, perhaps there will be an investigation established into responsibility of other police officers other than PNTL."