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By Godfrey Olukya 11-9-2012

A report released last evening by amnesty International revealed that prisoners in Chad are grossly mistreated.

It said that the lives of prisoners in Chad are often put at risk by harsh detention conditions including severe overcrowding in unventilated cells that can reach temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius.

The report is based on 6 prisons visited by Amnesty International’s research team. Among the terrible incidents the report cited in the last one year were nine deaths caused by asphyxiation, five by severe dehydration and seven deaths following shootings by prison guards.

One of the researchers, Christian Mukosa said,’ The prisons are hell on earth. The prisoners face a daily struggle for survival. They are underfed and congested.’

He said that a prison sentence in Chad is almost an equivalent to death sentence. He said there was need for the government to come out and improve on the conditions in the prisons.

According to the report, prisoners food is put directly on filthy mats on the floor from where prisoners eat. Apart from being fed in an inhumane manner, prisoners ate poor quality food once a day at irregular times.

There is survival or the fittest in the prisons as the strong prisoners eat most of the food living the weak ones starving.

The report also indicated that hygiene, sanitation and scarcity of water are a serious issues all the prisons in Chad and yet there are no medial personnel in the prisons.

It is terrible for female prisoners because in some prisons they are held in the same cells as men making them targets of sex abuse.

‘ We found children as young as 7 months staying with their mothers in cells as well as juvenile prisoners being held with adult prisoners. ‘ the report said.

Mukosa said that although Chad has been engaged in reform of the prison sector for many years but there is little visible improvement. ‘The prison system in Chad is lacking even the most basic elements that enable inmates to maintain some dignity,’ he said.

Amnesty International has called on Chad to improve on conditions in all it’s prisons in accordance to international standards.

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