Zambia denies torture claims

2010-09-11 22:35

Lusaka - The Zambian government on Saturday denied reports by human rights monitors that police are abusing and torturing inmates in the country's prisons.

"Zambia is a member of the international community and a signatory to a number of human rights instruments including the Convention Against Torture," Home Affairs Minister Mkhondo Lungu said in a statement.

"Therefore human rights have now become an integral part of the curriculum for law enforcement officers to assist in sensitizing the officers on the need to treat suspects in a humane manner."

Lungu's statement came after Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on the Zambian government to stop police abuse and torture in prisons.

The New York-based rights group and two local civil society organisations interviewed inmates at six prisons who said they had been beaten with metal bars, hammers, broom handles, police batons, sticks or even electrified rods.

Lungu denied the reports of abuse and said Zambia's government is working to improve prison conditions.

"The government has dedicated efforts and resources to improve the conditions in prisons by putting in place measures like a medical directorate, which was established with the aim of improving health service delivery to inmates," he said.