SAHRC condemns the alleged torture of an awaiting trial prisoner at the Pretoria Central Prison
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
The SA Human Rights Commission condemns the alleged torture of an awaiting trial offender at the Pretoria Central Prison.
According to an investigation by a Johannesburg-based radio station, the offender alleged that he was tortured by six warders who claimed to have found him in possession of a smuggled cellphone.
The radio station also reports that this incident was not a first but that there are others which were brought to its attention by members of the public. They claim that acts of torture are also prevalent with the prison.
The Commission urges the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development to fast track the Combating of Torture Bill which seeks to ensure that South Africa complies with its international obligations in terms of the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) which South Africa has signed and ratified by criminalizing and prohibiting acts of torture.
Currently, the act of torture is not a recognized statutory crime in South Africa. Torture legislation is needed in order that the criminal justice system can deal more effectively with acts of torture.
The Commission further urges the South African government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
Incidents of torture indicate the need for South Africa to ratify and implement the OPCAT. This would oblige South Africa to establish a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM), a system of regular visits to all places where persons are deprived of their liberty. The establishment of a NPM has been demonstrated as an effective tool to prevent torture.
Finally, the Commission is calling for a thorough investigation of this matter and for appropriate action to be taking against those who are found to be involved.
For further enquiries please contact: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866
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