SAHRC concerned about alleged torture at St Albans Correctional Centre
Attention: Editor and Reporters
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) notes with concern the incident that occurred at St Albans correctional center in Port Elizabeth between the night of the 2 March 2014 and the morning of 3 March 2014.
Allegedly about 200 inmates were subjected to a search conducted by the Emergency Security Team (EST) of the Department of Corrections (DCS) in the search for contraband.
This search led to the alleged mass-beatings, electric shock and torture of inmates.
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Disturbingly, this case bears resemblance to a previous case also from the St Albans correctional center that occurred in 2005. A complaint was lodged with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) after local mechanisms of accountability failed.
This complaint alleged gross human rights abuses by State officials. South Africa ignored five requests by the UNHRC to respond to the allegation. It was subsequently found guilty of human rights violations. At present the official investigation by the South African authorities into the 2005 case is still not completed.
The SAHRC condemns action such as this, especially after the Prevention of Torture Act, 2013 was passed and after the UNHRC human rights violation verdict against South Africa.
We call on authorities to move with necessary speed to ensure that those responsible are brought to book.
The SAHRC can confirm that a complaint has been lodged at its Eastern Cape provincial office and appropriate action will be taken with regards to the complaint.
Issued by the SA Human Rights Commission
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