Moz prison overcrowded

2009-06-23 15:55

Maputo - The number of prisoners in Maputo's central prison is more than three times its capacity, reported the independent daily O Pais on Tuesday.

"We do not find it easy to work with such overcrowding, but we are trying to find ways to work under the current situation," the newspaper quoted Castigo Silvestre Machaieie, the head of the correctional centre, as saying.

He said the prison was able to accommodate 800 prisoners, but was holding an extra 2 117 inmates.

Of these, 834 were awaiting trial while the rest were serving their time.

Maputo central prison was located in the central part of Maputo and had among its occupants former home affairs minister Almerino Manhenje. He had been incarcerated since September last year while awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Overcrowding in prisons and police cells had been a headache for Mozambican authorities but earlier this year the ministry of justice promised to urgently tackle the problem.

In March this year, 13 suspects who had been arrested for allegedly leading mob violence in the northern Mogincual district in Nampula province died of suffocation in a cell housing 48 suspects but meant to carry 15 prisoners.

Authorities blamed police chiefs at the Mogincual police station and fired three senior officers including the station commander.