Friday, June 21, 2024

Inmates in Madagascar dying from poor prison conditions

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Rights group, Amnesty International on Tuesday said prison conditions in Madagascar are in terrible state with many inmates dying as a result.

The group in a report detailed how Madagascar’s criminal justice system has failed leading to overcrowding of prisons.

Amnesty International’s visit to prisons in Madagascar showed that many people are abandoned at detention centres without their cases heard.

“People accused of petty crimes, even children, are forced to stay in overcrowded and unhygienic prisons. In most prisons, there are more people awaiting trial than have been sentenced, and the broken justice system can delay trials for years, ” the group said.

It further said that “Madagascar’s prisons hold more people who have not been convicted than those found guilty. As of October 2017, 55% or more than half of the total prison population were pretrial detainees.

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Failed justice system

Unjustified, excessive and lengthy use of pre-trial detention violates the rule of law, contributes to overcrowding of detention facilities, wastes public resources, and endangers the health and the rights of detainees, families and communities.”

Amnesty reports that “Prisons are dilapidated, ill-equipped, with lack of financial, material and general support. Prison staff complained about the lack of resources, ranging from sheets of paper, to computer equipment, furniture and transportation.”

Photo: Amnesty International

The report indicted Madagascar’s “prolonged pre-trial detention” which it says “violates a range of human rights, including the right to liberty, presumption of innocence, and to be treated with humanity”.

Many victims of such harsh conditions are poor people from rural communities in Madagascar. That shows how vulnerable poor people are when it comes to accessing justice system in the country.

Many prisons in parts of Africa are in poor state. It has become a death zone for many and not a reformation centre as envisaged.

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