(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A police committee formed on Tuesday to investigate an alleged assault on a teenager by Gendarmerie personnel in Salt last week is still questioning witnesses to determine if security forces were involved in the incident, official sources said.
Laith Qalalweh, 17, who is being treated at a hospital in the capital, claimed that Gendarmerie forces assaulted him on June 30 as he was returning home after buying provisions from a supermarket in a neighbourhood in Salt, 35km northwest of Amman.
The city has been witnessing riots and attacks on public and police property for the past three days and Gendarmerie forces were dispatched there to control the situation, Public Security Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.
The rioters are protesting against police procedures in searching some homes looking for a suspect in connection with a murder case, Khatib explained.
"They have also been demanding the release of a man who is convicted of murder," he added.
Initial investigations indicated that Qalalweh was part of a group that intended to attack public property in Salt when they were approached by Gendarmerie forces, according to Khatib.
The police official denied that the Gendarmerie personnel hit or tortured the teenager, stressing that a special committee was formed to investigate the incident.
"We have several witnesses whom we are questioning at the moment, and if any of our forces is proven to have taken part in hitting or torturing Qalalweh they will definitely be prosecuted," Khatib said.
Meanwhile, the National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) issued a statement demanding an independent and impartial investigation into the incident.
"One of our members visited the boy in hospital on July 2 and documented traces of torture on his body, which calls for a proper and independent investigation by the concerned authorities," NCHR Spokesperson Mohammad Hilo said.
"We hope the committee will make its findings public and if it cannot come to a conclusion, then the centre calls on the government to form an independent and neutral committee to safeguard the rights of the teenager," Hilo added.