SAHRC probing Free State prison riot

2013-01-14 08:04
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The South Africa Human Rights Commission has launched an investigation into the prisoners' riots that took place at the Free State's Groenpunt prison, it said on Sunday.

"The SAHRC would like to determine whether human rights were violated before and during the riots, and if so, what appropriate steps need to be taken to redress the violations," the commission said in a statement.

Prisoners refused to eat, then vandalised the facility in Deneysville last week, setting alight cells and offices and injuring four warders.

A total of 50 inmates were injured in police attempts to stop the riot. Prisoners had complained about the quality of food and about some prison officials. They wanted a unit head to be fired.

The Sunday Times reported that Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele said that maximum security inmates set the blaze after an initial escape attempt.

According to the report, some members of prison staff could be suspended for failing to avert the riot.

The commission said it was concerned that there appeared to be no on-going discussions between the department of correctional services and the inmates to try and resolve the grievances that led to the riots.

"The commission intends to work in close collaboration with the department and the office of the inspecting judge to ensure that the causes of this unfortunate event are avoided in the future."

- SAPA

Read more on:    correctional services  |  bloemfontein  |  prisons
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