Judicial inquiry finds police tried to hide evidence and even sought to prevent Rescue 1122 personnel from reaching site to provide aid
A judiciary inquiry into last week’s shooting of 21-year-old Usama Satti by police in Islamabad has found that he suffered multiple gunshots fired from multiple directions, suggesting a deliberate intent to kill him.
The investigation, conducted by the federal capital’s additional deputy commissioner, noted that Satti was “shot from all directions and his death was not a mere accident.” It said that evidence showed multiple guns had been fired at him, rebutting claims of police that the murder had been the responsibility of a sole officer of the Anti-Terrorism Squad. It also recommended the removal of six officials from their present posts to prevent them from influencing the ongoing investigation.
In light of the report’s finding, three superintendents of police, a deputy superintendent, and two station house officers are to be transferred today (Thursday).
Satti was shot dead on Jan. 2 by five officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squad. Amidst outrage over the brutal killing, a judicial inquiry was launched; Prime Minister Imran Khan also took notice of the incident and directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to submit a report. He also told the federal cabinet that in case Satti’s family was not satisfied with the judicial inquiry, further inquiries would be conducted until justice had been delivered.
According to the judicial inquiry report, the pattern of the bullets fired at Satti suggested that the intent was never to neutralize him, but rather to kill him. It alleges that police officers at the crime scene tried to destroy evidence, implying they supported the criminal action, and therefore supported and abetted the crime. “Usama’s body lay on the road while police vehicles surrounded it to keep the matter hidden from the public. Instead of shifting the body to the hospital, the officials kept it on the road. It appears as if they waited for Usama to die,” it said, noting that Satti’s death was “deliberately hidden from his family for four hours and that the officers involved tried to sweep the matter under the rug.”
Recalling that police had initially tried to portray the killing as a dacoity case, the report said that Rescue 1122 officials who tried to reach the site of the incident were repeatedly given wrong locations and eventually told to turn back.
The report also highlighted that a postmortem report had found no bullet was fired from the front even though a PIMS medical prescription slip signed by the duty officer had alleged that the bullet that killed the victim was fired point-blank. It said the investigation officer had not even bothered to take any photos or video of the crime scene, adding there had been no effort to preserve evidence.
It recommended a need to improve internal monitoring mechanisms as well as the training and supervision of police. It also recommended that all earlier permissions for the use of black-tinted private vehicles, as in the case of Satti, be withdrawn.
Separately, an Anti-Terrorism Court granted an additional seven-day physical remand of the five police personnel arrested in Satti’s murder, and ordered the inclusion of the wireless operator into the investigation.