In a climate of impunity torture and ill-treatment particularly of criminal suspects, the poor, political activists and students has been widespread. At times of internal political tension there has also been a rise in the number of extrajudicial executions reported. Details are given of cases in February and March 1989 against the background of mass economic protests; in February 1992 at the time of an attempted military coup, and again in November 1992 and the Reten de Catia massacre. Criminal suspects in the barrios have also been killed; and attacks against journalists and others are increasing. Other concerns include prison conditions throughout the country, and the use of the law of vagrants and crooks against the poor and to stifle political dissent.
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