News / Africa

Amnesty: Thousands Untried, 'Lost' in Mozambique Prisons

Selah Hennessy
LONDON—Mozambique's prisons are riddled with problems including serious overcrowding and cases of inmates being held without trial for years, according to an Amnesty International report published Thursday.
 
The London-headquartered human rights group says many of those incarcerated without having been found guilty of a crime are without access to a lawyer or even automatic access to a telephone. As a result, the report indicates, many languish for years without recourse to justice.
 
"We found the case of a man who had been detained for twelve years in a maximum-security prison," said the group's Mozambique researcher Maluka-Anne Miti, referring to José Capitine Cossa, who was arrested for selling sculptures on the side of the road. "He might not be the only one who is there for twelve years. Since then we have heard of people who have been there for five years, seven years — so these are not sporadic cases."
 
Mozambican law says people cannot be held without trial for longer than 11 months, and authorities say cases in which people have been held beyond that time are isolated. But Amnesty disagrees, citing research it carried out in collaboration with Mozambique Human Rights League, visiting five prisons as well as other detention centers.
 
According to Miti, the report's documented cases offer a mere glimpse into much wider systemic problems. For example, records of a delegation visit to Nampula Provincial Prison, a pre-trial detention center with a 90-inmate capacity, documents 22 prisoners and 365 detainees, putting the facility more than 400-percent over capacity.
 
In some of the cells, Miti said detainees were forced to sleep shoulder-to-shoulder in seated positions because there wasn't enough space to lie down.
 
The report also identifies a number of inmates who said they were under 16 years of age. Prison authorities told Amnesty that the burden of proof was on the detainees to prove their age.
 
The rights group is calling on police, judiciary officials and government ministers must bring an end to arbitrary arrests and improve detention conditions.
 
Mozambique authorities told Amnesty they would investigate the cases highlighted in the report.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid