Document Detail

Custody-related deaths in Durban, South Africa 1998-2000.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12773863     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Custody-related deaths have become a major human rights issue in South Africa since the 1994 democratic elections and led to the formation of the Independent Complaints Directorate who, in April 2000, had recorded 2174 custody-related deaths since their inception. A 3-year retrospective descriptive study on all custody-related death cases at a Durban Medico-legal mortuary from January 1998 to December 2000 was undertaken. The study included deaths that occurred during arrest and deaths within the South African Police Services holding cells. Deaths of prisoners within the Correctional Services and psychiatric institutions were excluded. A total of 117 cases were reviewed, of which 88 (75.21%) were due to police shootings, 11 (9.40%) were due to assault by the police during arrest, and 3 (2.57%) were due to assault by police dogs. There were 102 (87.18%) "police action" related deaths and 16 (13.68%) police custody deaths, of which 7 (5.99%) were due to suicide by hanging and 2 (1.71%) due to natural causes. The results from this study differ significantly from published reports from other countries, with respect to the high numbers of deaths caused by police action. Prevention of custody-related deaths should be recognized as an area of concern and should be given greater priority by the government and the South African Police Services.
Babita D Bhana
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology     Volume:  24     ISSN:  0195-7910     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Publication Date:  2003 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-05-29     Completed Date:  2003-10-02     Revised Date:  2011-02-02    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8108948     Medline TA:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  202-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
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MeSH Terms
Age Distribution
Bites and Stings / epidemiology
Forensic Medicine / statistics & numerical data
Law Enforcement*
Middle Aged
Retrospective Studies
South Africa / epidemiology
Suicide / statistics & numerical data
Violence / statistics & numerical data*
Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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