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Posts Tagged ‘Prison’

Ghana’s criminal justice need critical attention to be more humane

Posted by African Press International on November 16, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, today expressed deep concern about the situation of overcrowding in prisons in Ghana. “The overcrowding rate in some places that I visited is easily between 200 to 500%,” he warned at the end of his first official visit* to Ghana.

“Overcrowding gives rise to other human rights violations such as poor quality and quantity of food, poor hygiene, lack of adequate sleeping accommodation, insufficient air ventilation, a high risk of contamination of diseases, as well as very limited access to medical treatment, recreational activities or work opportunities,” Mr. Méndez said.

“These conditions constitute in themselves a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” stressed the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor a report on the use torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the world.

The UN expert came across and documented a clear case of caning used as a disciplinary measure against several youth at the Senior Correctional Centre in Accra, the only facility dedicated to juveniles. “I have urged the authorities to conduct an immediate independent and impartial inquiry to establish accountability for this serious act of torture against children,” he said.

“The Government must ratify and implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture as a matter of national urgency. Among other things, this will allow a national system of regular prison monitoring by independent experts,” the rights expert stressed.

Mr. Méndez learned that family visits from children under 18 years old are not allowed in the Ghanaian prisons. “Denial of visits by children constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment not only of the inmates but of the children as well,” he cautioned.

“The Government should reconsider this issue, which is not resource dependent and could go a long way to help the mental state of inmates, in particular of female prisoners with small children,” the independent expert noted.

“In all places visited,” the Special Rapporteur said, “an extremely poor standard of equipment, absence of qualified doctors, an apparent lack of medicine and limited medical screening.” He also received numerous complaints regarding the quantity and quality of the food provided by the prison authorities.

The human rights expert pointed out that family visits are an issue of survival in detention facilities throughout Ghana. “Inmates told me they are dependent on their families to bring them medicines,” he said. “If transferred to a prison far from the family inmates may not receive additional food or medicine.”

Visiting the Psychiatric Hospitals in Accra and Ankaful, Mr. Méndez noted the lack of resources, the insufficient training and limited medication. “I am particularly worried about the application of electro-shock therapy as practiced at the Psychiatric Hospital in Accra,” said the independent expert. “It is administered without adequate anesthetics, not as a last resort, nor with free and informed consent.”


During his eight-day mission, the Special Rapporteur also visited two prayer camps north of Cape Coast. “I saw patients chained to the floor or walls of their cells or chained or tied to trees for prolonged periods of time,” said the expert. The practice of shackling is alleged to be due to the risk of escape or the aggressive behavior of some patients. “Many of the patients say they have been shackled for extensive periods of time, from a number of months to several years.”

The rights expert, who visited Ghana at the invitation of the Government, met with relevant authorities, the judiciary, national human rights institutions, civil society, international and regional organisations, victims and their families.

The Special Rapporteur will present a country report with his observations and recommendations to be presented at the next session of the Human Rights Council in March 2014.

(*) Check the long end-of-mission statement:



United NationsOffice of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)



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Kenya: Senator Sonko (right) negotiate with Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Nzili, who is unaware he is being taped

Posted by African Press International on July 23, 2013 Senator Sonko and KNUT Secretary General Nzili negotiating Senator Sonko and KNUT Secretary General Nzili negotiating

Senator Sonko negotiating with the Kenya National Union of Teachers Acting Secretary General Mr Nzili, who seems scared to be sent to civil jail because of encouraging the Teachers strike to continue.

On this secretly taped video, he want assurance from Senator Sonko on whether he will not be sentenced by the court for having disobeyed court orders. He does not know that he is being filmed.

Is he really thinking of the Teachers or himself, when we hear he is more concerned of having assurance that he should be safe?

The court yesterday Monday fined him Ksh 500000,- and his Chairman Sossion Ksh 500000,-. The Union of Teachers that the two lead has been fined heavily – they must pay Ksh 5 Million for disobeying court order to call off the strike.

On the weekend, after the secret taped conversation with the senator, the two called off the strike, and come monday, they were fined heavily and in default they will be jailed for one month. They paid the fine after spending time in the cells in handcuffs.


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Norwegian Woman (24) reported rape in Dubai and for that she gets Sentenced to 16 months in prison instead of the rapist.

Posted by African Press International on July 18, 2013

The Norwegian newspaper VG writes that Marte Deborah Dalelv aged 24 has been sentenced to prison in Dubai to serve 16 months in jail simply for being raped by a Dubaian. She was expected to be silent with the truth. Instead of taking her seriously, the authorities in Dubai accuse her of having voluntary sex and drinking alcohol.

Marthe‘s appeal “is scheduled for the 5th of September, and until then she is stuck in Dubai with the status “wanted”. This means she will be arrested if she gets in touch with the police again. VG reports

When she was arrested, she has told the media that the police took her passport and money. Now she is waiting for her appeal while being housed in the Norwegian seamen church in the country.

The Norwegian priest Gisle Meling, the minister to seamen at the Norwegain seamen’s church in Dubai characterizes the Norwegian woman’s situation as terrible, according to VG report.

– The legal system here has obviously taken the information she has given them and concluded she is guilty of something else, Meling says.

According to VG News “The minister of foreign affairs in Norway, Espen Barth Eide said Thursday that the conviction of the 24-year-old woman is against the Norwegian belief in justice: adding that – – The conviction in Dubai against a Norwegian woman who reported a rape is against our belief in justice.

VG reports that the minister is engaged in the issue – We are giving her support in the process towards the appeal, he writes on his Twitter account.

The minister says the ministry is happy that the ruling by the court on the conviction is not final, as one awaits to see what the appeal court will say.

Here below is VG’s full story:


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Kenya: Piracy is a threat – inmates in prison raise alarm

Posted by African Press International on June 6, 2013


Inmates at the Naivasha Maximum Prison have expressed their fear that they are loosing thousands of shillings due to piracy.

According to them, they are not enjoying the benefits of their music after production as they are normally pirated in the backstreet market and sold.

They are now urging The Music Society of Kenya to protect their songs from piracy, saying they had rights to be protected and enjoy the benefits of their music.

The over two thousands inmates are now urging the relevant bodies to curb the vice so as to protect the local music industry.

Speaking to press separately Naivasha MP John Kihagi, urged the society to accept the inmates once they were through with their jail term as they had reformed.

He urged the employers to stop discriminating former prison inmates when conducting their recruitment exercises.

The MP said discrimination was one of the many reason that the ex-prisoners were committing back their crimes as were unable to cope with the current life.

Kihagi said most of the inmates had shown a lot of changes and other had learnt skills while at Prison and had been warded with certificates in various fields.

He said due to fear most employers do not recognize their certificates in fear of them attacking and robbing after employment.

He revealed that everyone was already aware that the Prison Department had started rehabilitation programmes for the inmates who were serving their jail terms.




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