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Protest Against Beating up of Prisoners

14.11.2003


Families of prisoners who were beaten up by Prison Guards delivered a petition to the Prime Minister on 13th November, together with the newly formed association, "JUSTICE: Association Against Violence of Officers of the State". This petition followed a meeting held on 8th November called by JUSTICE to discuss what to do with families of the 20 prisoners badly beaten up in 26th September exactions.



The petition calls for the immediate suspension of those prison guards of the notorious Prison Security Squad who have been identified as involved in the beating. Only suspension will put a stop to the intimidation of prisoners who are being coerced into withdrawing complaints against PSS guards.


The petition also calls for the arrest of the guards, so that they do not benefit from ongoing impunity and are subjected to the ordinary laws of the land. The petition denounces as "outrageous" the Prime Minister's statement in the National Assembly that the guards were not arrested because the father of Wendy Lafleur, the prisoner who survived a one-week coma as a result of the exactions, had not been arrested for "threatening" prison guards. The man's father, Eden Francois, who was present at the meeting of 8th February, insisted that the petition refer to his public call to be prosecuted for "threat" instead.


The petition demands that prisoners be granted 5 minutes a day to speak to their families on the telephone so that there are not beatings that guards hope can be covered up.


The petition was also delivered to the Minister of Reform Institutions, Sam Lauthan, and copies were sent to the President, the National Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.