8 March 2019

Madagascar: Happy March 8th - Women Languish in Abusive Lengthy Pre-Trial Detention in Madagascar

opinion

In Madagascar, a broken justice system means that people, even women with children, end up spending months or years in detention before being charged with any crime.

When Onorine's husband died, she decided she wanted to take care of his four children from another marriage. Onorine, who is 56 and from Antsirabe in Madagascar, took their birth certificates to court to make things official. But when she arrived there, police officers told her the certificates were fake, and arrested her. When I visited her in August 2017, more than two years after she was arrested, Onorine was still in detention waiting for a trial, and the children have been left to fend for themselves. When I spoke to her in Antsirabe prison, Onorine described her despair, after her attempt to keep the children safe backfired so badly:

"My husband's four children, as well as my own [five] children are in difficulty... They don't go to school, they're just vagabonds. I am alone here, I really suffer... I think it's because I'm poor that the judge never believed me," she said.

Across Madagascar, there are hundreds of women like Onorine who have spent years languishing in detention, suspected of minor crimes,...

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