Manila – The Commission on Human Rights on Friday said a cramped hidden cell with about a dozen inmates held allegedly on illegal drug charges was discovered behind a bookshelf in a police station in the Philippines.
The secret cell was found during a raid on the police station in the slum district of Tondo in Manila,’’ Diana De Leon, a lawyer with the commission’s investigation unit, said.
“The secret detention cell was small with 12 detainees inside, three women and nine men, allegedly held on drug cases.
“There was no light and the condition was inhumane.
“Most of the detainees alleged that they were beaten and tortured,’’ De Leon added.
According to Gilbert Boisner, a regional director of the human rights commission, the detainees have been in the cell for one week without being processed for the charges against them.
“I was shocked,’’ he said, adding that the inmates alleged that police were demanding between $800 and $4,000 for them to be released.
A human rights group based in New York City said the discovery of the secret jail “is just the latest sign of how the police are exploiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s abusive anti-drug campaign for personal gain.’’
“Expect unlawful police abuses in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs to continue until the UN establishes urgently needed independent investigations.
“Also, the UN should establish an urgent international investigation into the killings and the secret jails that are part of the unlawful police abuses,’’ the group said in a statement.