Libreville – Chad’s prisons are severely overcrowded, detention conditions are inhuman and female inmates are exposed to rape, eights watchdog Amnesty International said in a damning report released on Monday.
The report, entitled “We Are All Dying Here”, detailed conditions of severe overcrowding, with food and water that was unfit for consumption and sometimes lacking, and human rights violations.
While collecting details on the whole prison system in the central African country, one of the world’s poorest, Amnesty International visited six jails between 2011 and 2012.
At the end of January 2012, 45 jails were home to 4 831 prisoners in conditions of severe overcrowding, held in facilities packed up to five times beyond capacity.
The report detailed “incidents in the last 12 months that include nine deaths caused by asphyxiation, five by severe dehydration and seven deaths following shootings by prison guards”.
Amnesty reported that the temperature in Chad’s unventilated prison cells could reach 48 degrees Celsius.Children, including young girls, were detained with adults. Most prisoners had yet to come to trial and some had been awaiting their court appearance for several years, Amnesty International said.
“Women and children are particularly at risk in Chad’s prisons as there are no specific facilities for them,” the report said.
“In some prisons women were held in the same cells as men, placing them at significant risk of gender-based and sexual violence. Even in prisons where women had separate accommodation it was often easy for male prisoners and guards to move to and from the women’s courtyard and cells.
“Amnesty International found children as young as seven months staying with their mothers in cells as well as juvenile prisoners being held with adult prisoners.”