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Brian Sands: Immediate Investigation Needed

6 April 2005

Brian Sands: Immediate Investigation Into Circumstances Of His Death

Amnesty International New Zealand urges officials of the Forces Nouvelles (FN), who control the northern part of Co´te d'Ivoire, to immediately carry out a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Brian Sands, said Ced Simpson, Executive Director of Amnesty International New Zealand.

Brian Hamish Sands was reportedly arrested on his way to Bouaka in a coach from the country's main city, Abidjan. Forces Nouvelles officials accused him of being a mercenary and wanting to kill [FN] political and military leaders. He was found dead in his cell in Korhongo and the circumstances of his death are still unknown.

"Only three weeks ago, on 15 March, we issued a world-wide Urgent Action on behalf of Mr. Sands, fearing that he was in grave danger of torture and ill-treatment and that he would be placed in incommunicado detention. The FN have previously tortured and killed dozens of people they arrested, including members of the security forces and dissident FN members." said Mr. Simpson.

Amnesty International New Zealand urges Forces Nouvelles, to also give clear assurances that all the other detainees will not be tortured or ill-treated, and that they will be given immediate access to any medical attention they may need, to the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and to their families.

ENDS

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