Prisoners' rights violated: Lawyers

By Drum Digital
16 March 2012

The parading of three re-arrested escapees at a press conference by the authorities was shocking and concerning, lawyers said on Friday.

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) said bringing the prisoners to a media conference had violated the men's basic human rights.

The incident could be misconstrued by the public and encourage a culture of vigilantism, LSSA said.

"The public could be led to believe that offenders, awaiting trial or convicted, are not entitled to basic rights, including the right to dignity."

In a statement LSSA co-chairmen, Nano Matlala and Praveen Sham, said chapter three of the Correctional Services Act (1998) stipulated prisoners must be kept in custody under conditions of human dignity.

The minimum rights of prisoners entrenched in the act may also not be violated or restricted for disciplinary or any other purposes.

The three convicts, Bongani Moyo, Themba Dube and Khumbulani Sibanda escaped from Pretoria Central prison on Tuesday.

After they were recaptured they were quizzed in front of the cameras by Correctional Services Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Correctional Services Commissioner Tom Moyane. The minister said she suspected the men were helped to escape by correctional services' staff.

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