30 May 2014

South Africa: The Measure of a Nation - St Albans, the Shame of South Africa's Prisons


Daily Maverick recently reported on a prison-wide orgy of mass-beatings, torture and assaults, involving 200 inmates of Port Elizabeth's St Albans prison. This was a direct replication of events that took place in 2005. Nine years later, the first four of 231 torture-survivors are suing the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services for damages in the PE High Court. CAROLYN RAPHAELY has been following the case as tales of profound and senseless human suffering unfold.

After former St Albans prison cleaner Ahmed Patel was forced to scrape human skin off the prison walls and clean faeces and blood from the prison passages, he could neither eat, nor smoke the cigarette a warder offered him as recompense. But, he told Justice Dyalan Chetty in the Port Elizabeth High Court last week, witnessing fellow-inmate Bradley McCallum being raped by a warder with a tonfas was "the limit... That guy was screaming like a little pig giving birth."

"A tonfas," Patel explained ... ."is that plastic baton thing that looks like a large dildo. The thickness is almost like a small tin of fish, just bigger than a golf ball. He (Warder Padyachee) made a dildo out of that and put it up...

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