Rumbek Central Inmates Report Of Torture

Inmates at the Rumbek Central Prison. Lakes State youth witness harsh security reforms that led to youth being arrested and detained at the military prison in Langcok and at the Rumbek Correctional Prison service. [Gabriel Mayom]

The prisoners have reported being mistreated and harsh measures being imposed upon them by the guards.

The facility in Rumbek has more than 1,300 suspects arrested for several accusations ranging from murder to adultery and minor cases with some high record of arbitrary arrests carried out by government officials.

The complain including poor sleeping place, poor quality food and random abuse of words including sometime prisoners are beaten without reasons or orders from the officer in charge of the prison.

One prisoner who requested anonymity said: “There is no treatment going on in this prison, there is no good quality food, prison warden guards are mistreating us. We are being beaten and there is no good place to sleep.”

Meanwhile, Lakes State Caretaker Governor Matur Chut Dhuol has decided to transfer more than 100 prisoners held in Langcok Military Prison to Pulkuc Military Prison.

Pulkuc is a new prison established after Langcok is alleged to be full and the space was not enough to accommodate more prisoners.

In February, 100 young men from Rumbek East County were arrested following inter-communal fight that left six people killed over Awac-lual cattle camp dispute for the burial of famous elder, Tulba Manyiel.

Lakes state young men witness harsh security reforms that led to youth being arrested and detained at the military prison in Langcok and at the Rumbek Correctional prison service.

Among arrested are two Australian citizens born in South Sudan.

Manyang Maker Tulba was arrested as he was visiting his family in Rumbek. Tulba is one of about 100 young men being held in a military prison in Rumbek as part of a state investigation into violent ethnic clashes last month.

In March, Paul Muoranyar Maker Mabor arrested when the Australian government representative to the region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia) based at the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, Consul General, Jeffrey Houston visited Rumbek.

Upon his return to Nairobi there was a row at Rumbek airport with Lakes State authorities.

He was openly harassed, verbally abused including taking the passport from his accompanying Australian citizen.

He was in the company of other embassy official and a 22-year-old Australian citizen named Nyianbany Chinmouth, who is also a South Sudanese citizen by birth and she sought diplomatic protection and assistance on her way back to Nairobi and eventually to Australia.

Nyianbang was fleeing away from Rumbek due to harsh security measures hitting state citizens.

Security source denied having harassed the diplomat but security accepted that Myouranyar was arrested because he wanted to escape with Nyianbang Chinmouth, a 22-year-old girl to Australia.

Muoranyar is now on bail and he is expected to appear before court Tuesday 9. 

Most of the arrested people did not have an advocate or defence lawyers.

William Marial Agok, Lakes state prison deputy director at the time said that, “We have taken administrative measure against those soldiers who torture prisoners were served with warning letter and administrative measure is being undertaken. The prison warden decides alone and beat up one prisoner with 25 lashes. The nine suspects who received the beating remain in prison awaiting prosecution.”

In 2012, the Human Rights Watch launched an investigative report depicting the status of human rights in South Sudan prisons.

The 105-page report titled “Prison Is Not for Me: Arbitrary Detention in South Sudan”, documents violations of due process rights, patterns of wrongful deprivation of liberty, and the harsh, unacceptable prison conditions in which detainees live.

During the launch, South Sudan Vice President Dr Riek Machar said that the report will help his government in soliciting for suitable solutions to address the challenges facing the prisons department.

The research was carried out in twelve of the country’s 79 prisons during a 10-month period before and after South Sudan’s independence in areas with the largest prison populations.

It revealed that, a third of South Sudan’s prison population of approximately 6,000 has not been convicted of any offense or in some cases even charged with one, but are detained, often for long periods, waiting for police, prosecutors, and judges to process their cases.

The vast majority of detainees have no legal representation, because they cannot afford a lawyer and South Sudan has no functioning legal aid system, adding that Judges pass long sentences and even condemn to death people who, without legal assistance, were unable to understand the nature of charges against them or to call and prepare witnesses in their defense.

The government pointed out infrastructural challenges, insecurity, budget constraints and other political problems that hinder government’s efforts to prioritise the improvement of the prisons in the country.

Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 250 inmates and a range of justice officials, correctional officers, police, prosecutors, and traditional authorities.

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