Mozambican jails: always space for one more, despite overcrowding

Mozambque Jail
The jails in Nampula Province are overcrowded to the extent that they risk violating human rights, says the Mozambican Human Rights League (LMDH). But despite the overcrowding, new prisoners keep arriving.

Tarcisio Abibo, a delegate of the Mozambican Human Rights League in the northern region, is concerned about the situation: “We can see overcrowding at the Nampula city first station, where all prisoners from all the city’s stations end up being taken”.

During the course of the week 3 to 10 February, at least 16 inmates escaped from Nacala-Porto district jail. So far, only seven have been recaptured. Overcrowding and lack of prison guards facilitated the escape.

Police only concerned with arresting people: Zacarias Nacute, spokesperson for the police in Nampula, says that in cases such as this prison escape, the role of the security forces is to “apply and enforce the law, neutralise the detainees and send them to the competent bodies”.

But the problem of prison overcrowding remains unresolved, the League says.

The League often goes to jails to check whether inmates receive three meals a day, health care and legal aid. And often, there are violations of human rights.

“We find situations and immediately draw up a report communicating what we have noticed to the relevant parties”, the League’s Tarcisio Abibo says.

He gives an example: “Once, a prisoner’s sentence was fulfilled, and he should have been released immediately. But he wasn’t; he remained in prison for two or three months. This is a human rights violation”.

At first, the Mozambican authorities used to contest the Human Rights League’s work, but with the constant denunciations, there have been improvements, the organizations head says.

Source: Deutsche Welle
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