| Dominican Republic – The wave of violence in the northern Dominican Republic has left 12 people dead in the past 72 hours, officials and human rights groups said Sunday.|
Santiago, the country’s second-largest province with a population of more than 1 million, has been the area most affected by the spate of killings.
Some of the killings were apparently a settling of scores by drug traffickers, while other people died in alleged shootouts with police.
The latest victim was a man gunned down Saturday in the Cienfuegos district who was allegedly linked to the robbery of former Santiago Gov. Jose Izquierdos.
The Human Rights Commission’s representative in the northern Dominican Republic, Dionisio Jerez, on Sunday criticized the violence in the region, especially purported shootouts involving the National Police.
Jerez called attention to the deaths of Jhonantan Liriano, a community leader shot during a protest, Cecilio Diaz, a former member of El Salvador’s Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, and Wilian Batista at the hands of police.
Diaz and Batista, who were allegedly involved in a kidnapping, were turned over alive by marines to the National Police and were later found dead, Jerez said.
The Human Rights Commission official joined other rights groups in calling for National Police chief Maj. Gen. Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin to be brought before a court to answer questions about the cases.
The extralegal executions by police violate due process rights and the constitution, Jerez said.
“The right thing is for them (suspects) to be tried by a court, but not to murder them like dogs and even in the presence of children,” Jerez said.