On 3 October 2013, Alfreda Disbarro was at an internet café near her house in Parañaque, Manila, when police officers approached her and accused her of being a drug dealer. She denied the allegation and to prove she was not carrying drugs, emptied her pockets, which contained a mobile phone and a five-peso coin. Without warning the officers pointed a gun ather and punched her in the chest.
Alfreda, a 32-year-old mother of two, was taken to the police headquarters where she says police officers pinned her against a wall, repeatedly punched her in the face and stomach, hit her with a club, poked their fingers in her eyes, slapped her, forced a mop into her mouth, and banged her head against a wall. Then they beat her with a wooden stick and a metal bar.
Over the following days Alfreda was in such pain that she couldn’t eat, had difficulty breathing and kept vomiting. During this period she was photographed with three $100 bills and a sachet of drugs, and told to sign a blank sheet of paper.
After making a complaint to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, Alfreda underwent a medical examination on 10 October 2013. The doctor found numerous bruises and marks on her body and concluded that they were caused by a hard, blunt object.
Take Action: How you can help
1) Write to the Phillipine police Internal Affairs Service and urge them to:
- open an investigation into these allegations of torture made by Alfreda Disbarro and refer the case for public prosecution
- take immediate administrative measures against any police officers who are found to have been involved or complicit in the torture of Alfreda Disbarro
- give a safe space for whistle-blowers within the Philippine National Police who wish to report their personal knowledge of torture by their colleagues, including in the case of Alfreda Disbarro.
2) Let Alfreda know that you are thinking of her and support her demand for justice.
- Address: Alfreda Disbarro, c/o IAR Programme, Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
- Preferred language: English or Filipino
- Suggested message: I have heard about the difficult experience you have had at the hands of police officers. I will be campaigning for you and others who have experienced torture. You have been so brave to report your experience. Be strong and continue fighting for justice.
- You may send a religious card if you wish; Alfreda is Christian. It is ok to mentionAmnesty and include a return address if you wish.