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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid