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Germany

Amnesty Accuses German Police of Excessive Force

In a report published Wednesday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International says that between 1999 and 2003, there have been some 20 cases in Germany of police using excessive force and ill-treating suspects. The study suggests that in some cases, officers may even be getting away with torture. "All too often," it says, "complaints against police officers are not investigated promptly or impartially and there is a very real danger that these practices result in police officers getting away with committing human rights violations." Marieluise Beck, the government's special representative for refugees and integration policies, says the report should be taken seriously, but German police unions have angrily dismissed the allegations as populist and biased, arguing they rely too heavily on statements from alleged victims of police violence and overlook the results of investigations or court decisions. Both the DPolG and the GDP police unions stress that officers who use violence face internal disciplinary procedures and possible criminal prosecution. But Amnesty said statistics on police ill-treatment in Germany were "woefully inadequate" and proposes the government set up a body which publishes comprehensive figures.