Uproar over naked, mistreated prisoners in Philippine jail

2017-03-02 16:43

Manila – Photos showing hundreds of prisoners in a Philippine jail sitting naked while being searched for contraband have triggered accusations of further rights abuses in President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly war on drugs.

The inmates of the Cebu provincial jail were woken before dawn on Tuesday, herded into the jail's quadrangle and forced to strip while anti-drug agents, police and military searched their cells, said prison officer Rafael Espina.

Photos released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and provincial police showed the inmates sitting naked and cross-legged in neat rows on the concrete quadrangle, illuminated by spotlights, as armed police guarded them.

A statement released by the drug enforcement agency said the raid had netted "several packets" of methamphetamines and marijuana leaves, as well as knives and mobile phones.

Naked inmates at the Cebu city jail
Naked inmates at the Cebu city jail sitting during a joint raid by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Cebu Police provincial office on illegal drugs and contraband. (Merlie Dacunos/Cebu Provincial Police Office via AFP)

With the photos gaining traction on social media, human rights groups voiced concern.

'Inhuman and degrading'

"This incident clearly amounts to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners," Amnesty International said in a statement.

Amnesty cited United Nations' standards and Philippine laws in highlighting the obligation of authorities to ensure prisoners were not subjected to torture or ill-treatment.

Human Rights Watch also said international standards prohibited searches that intimidated or unnecessarily intruded upon a prisoner's privacy.

"The conduct of these searches – out in the open and permitting photographs to be taken – was inhuman and degrading and violated the prisoners' rights to privacy," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency spokesperson Derrick Carreon said the stripping of the inmates was on the order of the provincial governor and the guards.

"We just provide technical expertise," he said.

Controversial war on drugs

Provincial government information officer Jethro Bacolod said the mass stripping was "an SOP", or standard operating procedure for raids to detect contraband.

He said the prison warden had been sacked because of the contraband that was found during the raid.

The Cebu prison became famous in 2007 due to popular YouTube videos showing inmates performing choreographed dances to hits such as Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Duterte has been waging a controversial war on drugs that has seen police and unidentified assailants kill thousands of people over the past eight months.

Amnesty has warned the killings may amount to a crime against humanity.

Duterte, who remains popular with many Filipinos, has said human rights must take a backseat to defeating the much greater menace of illegal drugs ravaging society.

Read more on:    rodrigo duterte  |  philippines  |  human rights  |  narcotics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.