Groenpunt inmate assaulted by warders dies

2013-01-18 09:45
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Free State - A prisoner who journalists witnessed being assaulted by warders at Groenpunt prison has died, The Star reported on Friday.
 
Officials claim the man, who was serving a 16 year sentence for robbery, succumbed to injuries resulting from the “necessary force” they applied on him after he had tried to kill one of the warders on Wednesday.

Two other prisoners who were also involved in the fight have been admitted to an unidentified hospital.

On Wednesday, the media was invited to accompany Parliament's portfolio committee on correctional services on a visit to the Free State maximum security prison, where inmates rioted last week.

It was during this visit when the attack took place.

"Through the fence, we saw a mob of warders assaulting a man dressed in orange garb - apparently a defenceless prisoner - who squirmed and groaned in pain," reported The Star journalists.

"We saw them passing the man around in a circle, brutally beating him."

Journalists detained

News photographers took pictures as it happened.

Several journalists and photographers were detained, body-searched and had their cellphones and cameras confiscated.

After about an hour, they were released and handed back their equipment but one of The Star's photographer's memory stick was held back. Also, all photographs - even those unrelated to the prison beating - had been deleted.

The Star reported that the portfolio committee’s chairperson Vincent Smith lashed out at the newspaper for breaking an agreement not to take pictures and for suggesting that the warders had acted incorrectly.

But the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Thursday it regarded the detention and searches of the journalists in an extremely serious light and viewed the deletion of photographs as “an attempt to destroy evidence”.
 
If the prisoners decide to press charges against the correctional services department, they could have a strong case, attorneys said.
- News24
Read more on:    sanef  |  bloemfontein  |  media  |  prisons
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