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Human rights activist beaten during Islamabad protest

Pakistani police suspend two officers over incident

Human rights activist beaten during Islamabad protest

Published: April 29, 2014 03:48 AM GMT

Updated: April 28, 2014 05:47 PM GMT

Pakistan officials suspended two police officers after a prominent human rights activist was beaten up during a demonstration near Parliament House in Islamabad on Monday.

About a dozen protesters, including Amina Masood Janjua, founder and chairwoman of Defense of Human Rights, were detained by police before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered their release. The protesters were seeking information on missing persons.

Footage broadcast on Geo News showed police beating Janjua and dragging her into a police van.

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Demonstrators gathered at Islamabad's D-Chowk public square and tried to march toward Parliament House, when they were met by baton-wielding police.

A police spokesman said protesters tried to proceed through a high security area where public gatherings are prohibited.

Janjua said the protesters were peaceful and had no intention of breaking the law.

"We have been staging protests in Islamabad for years. But not once we were treated like this," she said.

"We will not be deterred by intimidation and harassment and will continue to raise our voices until missing persons are freed," she added.

Janjua said her colleagues were tortured at police stations.

Sharif later issued a statement expressing his "displeasure over a crackdown by the Islamabad police on a group of protesters headed by Amna Masood Janjua".

Sharif also said in a tweet reported by Radio Pakistan that "peaceful protest is the democratic right of citizens."

According to state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali suspended two police officers and ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

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