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No vehicle for Port Loko prison

…says Correctional Manager

June 10, 2015 By Ishmael Bayoh

Correctional Manager at the Port Loko Correctional Center, Superintendent Rudolph E. George, has disclosed that the facility is without a vehicle to convey inmates to court for trial.

He was speaking on Monday to the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone during a monitoring visit to the center to ascertain whether there was prison reform and respect for prisoners’ fundamental human rights.

Supt. George said because there was no vehicle, inmates having to attend court sittings outside Port Loko town do so on a monthly basis. For those attending court in the township, they have to walk a distance of about 300 meters, which is a security risk, he added.

“For inmates having to attend court in other towns, a vehicle is sent from Makeni to convey them,” he lamented.

The Port Loko Correctional Center holds about 158 inmates brought from Kambia, Lungi, Masiaka, Lunsar and Port Loko itself.

Supt. George further stated that the Port Loko High Court has not sat for close to a year and inmates facing trial at the court have not had their cases heard for that period, while there are others waiting for their indictments to appear before a High Court judge.

“One of the reasons for the delay in trying cases was because the judge had not been coming to court because of the [high number] of Ebola cases in Port Loko,” said Supt. George. “That is the reason why some inmates have been in prison for over a year without their cases being heard.”

One area where human rights violations frequently occur is the Correctional Service Center (prison), which is a strategic component in the administration of justice. It is against this backdrop that the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone regularly undertakes monitoring visits in order to ensure compliance with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for persons in detention facilities.

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