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HRC report reveals appalling condition in Police cells

July 27, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

HRC

A monitoring exercise carried out by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone has revealed appalling conditions in police cells across the country.

The monitoring of police cells, Correctional Centres, remand homes and approved schools in Bo, Kenema, Tongo, Mafanta, Magburaka, Pujehun, Moyamba and Freetown, among others, was done from January to April 2017.

The findings revealed lack of medical services, poor toilet facilities, overcrowding and poor ventilation in all the police cells visited.

Also, logistics in the rural police stations was a major challenge and they highlighted generally issues of transportation to enhance their work.

Sharing the findings with stakeholders, HRC-SL Deputy Director of Monitoring and Research, Richard Mbayoh said because of there was no medical services for inmates; police officers many a time assist some of the sick suspects to get medical attention.

According to him, whenever serious cases of illnesses are referred to government hospitals by police officers for treatment, relatives incur the cost even though it should be free.

He said unhygienic conditions were observed in male cells in the Central, Kissy, Waterloo, Moyamba and Tongo Police stations with some littered with filth, as well as leaky roofs in one of the cells at the Tongo Field Police station.

“Poor toilet facilities in all stations visited with the exception of the Magburaka and the Eastern Police Stations. We noted in all the stations monitored that the contemporaneous statement taking was the general practice,” he said.

At the Congo Cross, Magburaka and Tongo Field Police Stations, Mr. Mbayo said juveniles were found in with adult suspects in the same cells.

“95% of stations visited, suspects informed us that relatives or complainants provide water for them. No special facility for persons with disability in all stations monitored,” Mr. Mbayo added.

Earlier, oversight Commissioner for Monitoring and Research, Rashid Dumbuya Esq spoke about the commission intention to move away from broad monitoring to thematic reporting.

He said the commission was not oblivious of the challenges faced by most ministries, departments and agencies, but noted that with effective collaboration, much can be achieved with little or no cost.

“It is my firm belief that we are all going to discuss the issues from a genuine perspective with the aim of improving on the current condition in detention facilities and upholding the dignity of persons deprived of their liberty,” he said.

Lawyer Rashid Dumbuya stated that they were please to engage the various institutions on the findings of its monitoring carried out this year.

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