South Sudan: Woman Convicted in Lakes State Prison Dies

Rumbek — A 28-year old woman, previously held in Rumbek Central Prison in South Sudan's Lakes state, has died after a member of the state's auxiliary force allegedly raped her.

According to state authorities, the deceased (name withheld), was pronounced dead at Lake state's civil hospital, with the post-mortem reportedly indicating she died from rape-related complications.

An official from the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), on Saturday, confirmed the incident, saying they had arrested a member of the police auxiliary force unit, now in detention in connection with the crime.

"We have captured [a] 30-year-old man and now he is under arrest waiting to face justice," said the officer, who preferred to remain anonymous.

He said prior to her release this week the deceased had been in prison for the last six months, but did not divulge further details on why she was detained.

A nurse at the state referral hospital said, the 28-year-old had died as a result of injuries inflicted on her genital area after the alleged rape incident.

CASES OF TORTURE

Dozens of prisoners interviewed by Sudan Tribune complained of being tortured by authorities operating at the correctional facility, with up to nine cases reportedly recorded in recent weeks.

Lakes state deputy director for prisons William Marial Agok says a series of measures have been put in place to investigate all reported cases of torture against prisoners, while those implicated will face justice.

"We have taken administrative measures against those soldiers who torture prisoners. [They] were served with warning letters and administrative measures are being undertaken," Agok said.

One prisoner allegedly received 25 lashes from a prison warden, after the latter accused him of having participated in a cattle raid that took place in neighbouring Warrap state.

"The warden has been given a written warning [letter] and has been transferred to another section within the same prison," said the deputy director.

Rumbek Central Prison, initially constricted to accommodate about 300 inmates, currently houses over 1,000 people, arrested in connection with various crimes ranging from murder, theft, adultery and other minor cases.

Sudan Tribune has learned that most of those in detention have not been tried as they lack defence lawyers, in a country where the justice system remains highly flawed.

Last year, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, deplored the poor state of South Sudan's prisons, characterised by overcrowding, poor hygiene and inhuman treatment of inmates. The report also raised serious questions about the country's judicial systems, saying the majority of prisoners lacked legal representation in courts of law.

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