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Callamard: Kian slay a turning point in Duterte's drug war

Saldy delos Santos, center, and his wife Lorenza, second right, grieve over the coffin of their son Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old student, who was killed in an alleged anti-drug crackdown during his funeral, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Murder complaints were filed Friday against Philippine police officers in connection with the killing of a teenager that has sparked an outcry against the president's anti-drug crackdown, which has left thousands dead. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, Philippines — The killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos was a new turning point for President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called war on drugs, United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard said.

Callamard said that all evidence — the position of the body, bullets in the back, in the neck, shot at point blank range, witnesses and cameras — point to the involvement of the police.

"We must investigate not only Kian's case, but all the murders. All this demonstrates the importance of the independent investigation," Callamard said in an interview with French newspaper Libération.

The UN rapporteur noted that the first turning point in the administration's anti-illegal drugs campaign would be the kidnapping and slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo.

Jee was murdered inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police at Camp Crame, which sparked outrage in civil society and prompted the police to revamp its war on drugs after a brief suspension.

RELATED: DOJ: Korean businessman killed inside Camp Crame

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"Law offices have seized individual cases, have asked that families be protected. All this took place in a climate of fear, direct threats, physical or virtual, with trolls very present and aggressive," Callamard said.

"I have experienced it: the Web is formidable," she added.

Callamard warned that the "full powers" that Duterte granted to the police destroy the rule of law and place the Philippines in "great danger."

She stressed that reactions from non-governmental organizations, media, courts and lawyers are fundamental as it helps maintain confidence.

"I am not accustomed to depicting reality in black, but the impact of this war is felt at all levels, internationally and nationally. The whole political system is poisoned by this climate of fear and at the level of the communities, it is simply the horror with families destroyed forever," Callamard said.

RELATED: Pardon his French: Duterte curses at Callamard for comments on Kian caseCallamard hits back: UN visit not a vehicle for politicking

Callamard was supposed to conduct an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the country.

Duterte, however, demanded to hold a public debate with Callamard, which is not the appropriate forum to discuss such matters.

"It is out of the question that I enter this communication policy. I do not want to be exploited by Mr. Duterte," she said.

RELATED: Callamard: 'Vast majority' of killings remain uninvestigated

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