Sierra Leone: CHRDI Says Detention Facilities Expose Prisoners to Dangerous Environmental Conditions

20 September 2017

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has expressed grave concern with regards to what it's described as 'appalling conditions' of prisoners in detention facilities across the country.

The organization's Chief Executive, Abdul M. Fatoma, stated in a press release that many prisons and jails in Sierra Leone expose prisoners to dangerous environmental conditions like extreme heat or cold, contaminated food and lack of basic sanitation.

"We are concerned that overcrowding in prisons would only lead to increased violence, and the delivery of poor and inadequate medical care and other essential services," he said.

He claimed that coupled with the lack of pipe borne water, poor toilets facilities and only one Doctor to check for health problems, substandard meals, poorly trained guards and prison administrators, correctional facilities are clearly supporting the notion that the justice system was built solely for punishment and not for rehabilitation.

According to him, herding individuals in cramped spaces was a cruel, inhuman, degrading, and unjust punishment and that overcrowding is dangerous to health and human life because it breeds diseases, breaks down discipline and exacerbate tensions.

Also, Mr. Fatoma claimed that some twenty female citizens, who were arbitrarily arrested, have been in detention for several months now without charges and have only attended trial once since 2017

He called on the government to curtail the continued unlawful, arbitrary and unjustifiable detention of these innocent citizens by the criminal justice system because according to him, their detention flagrant violation of their human rights as guaranteed by section 23 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act no 6 of 1991.

"We believe that the unlawful detention of these citizens is in violation of their constitutional and human rights and dignity. To detain citizens without trial for prolonged periods with no regard for due process is in clear violation of the laws of Sierra Leonean and other international Human Rights Instruments," he said.

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