EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 21/04/97
UA 89/97 Possible extrajudicial execution/
Fear for safety 2 April 1997
Amnesty International has learned that Abouna Halidi, a Comorian citizen, was
shot dead in Mutsamundu on the island of Anjouan following clashes between
civil servants and the Comorian army on 14 March 1997. Amnesty International
is concerned he may have been the victim of an extrajudicial execution and
is calling for an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Amnesty
International has also received reports that 20 people were wounded and 70
others were arrested by the army during the same demonstration.
This is the latest report of violence in a series of clashes between hospital
workers, teachers, civil servants and the Comorian army and police. These
clashes have occurred mostly in the capital Moroni and on the island of Anjouan.
Amnesty International is concerned at the excessive use of force on this occasion
by the Comorian security forces and fears for the safety of civilians involved
in any future peaceful demonstrations.
Since January 1977, several demonstrations by the civilian population have
been repressed with excessive force by the Comorian army and police. Last year
President Mohamed Taki announced that all state employees would receive their
salary arrears by 31 December 1996. The deadline was then postponed to 31 March
1997. When the Prime Minister announced payment of only one month's salary
in January 1997, many government employees started peaceful public protests.
The Comorian army and police were sent in to break up the demonstrations.
Freedom of association is increasingly threatened in the Comoros and repression
of peaceful demonstrations appears likely to intensify as promises made by
the government to pay salary arrears to civil servants, teachers and hospital
staff become less and less reliable.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in French or your own language:
- expressing concern at reports that Abouna Halidi may have been extrajudicially
executed during a demonstration on 14 March 1997;
- urging the Comorian authorities to open an immediate investigation into the
death of Abouna Halidi and to ensure that anyone found responsible for his
unlawful killing is brought to justice according to international standards
- urging the Comorian Government to ensure the protection of unarmed civilians
and to make clear to the police and the army that the government will not tolerate
or condone any human rights violations, including the use of lethal force against
- reminding the Comorian government of its obligations to guarantee the right
for everyone to freedom of association, including "the right to form and join
trade unions for protection of his interest" under article 10 of the African
Charter and under Convention Number 87 of the International Labour Organization
to which the Comoros is a party.