News24

Moz jail bosses suspended

2010-04-30 22:27

Maputo - Mozambique prison authorities on Friday suspended the director and other officials of a maximum security prison over the alleged torture of inmates.

"The conclusion is some (officials) were involved in torture," Mozambique Justice minister Benvinda Levy told journalists.

Reports that twelve prisoners were tied up, whipped, beaten and kicked at the Brigada Operacional maximum security facility in the capital Maputo surfaced in mid-April.

New prison director Renato Francisco Jaime, whose term started on March 31, a group commander and guards were all allegedly implicated.

"The director was not involved. He saw what happened, but didn't act," the minister said.

The case would also be referred to the country's attorney general for investigation.

15 summary executions in 2008

A report released last week by the country's Human Rights League stated that Mozambican police performed 15 summary executions in 2008, an increase compared to 2007 when four prisoners were killed.

The disciplinary hearings of the officers involved should be finished within two weeks, Levy said.

"I think the situation reminds us of the obligation we have to our people. If someone is a prisoner we have to do everything to rehabilitate them. We should not abuse them in the process," the minister said.

Twelve Mozambican prisoners died of suffocation in March last year after they were arrested for rioting over a cholera epidemic.

At the time, state newspaper Noticias reported that the prisoners were killed when fighting broke out in their overcrowded cell.