Burundi: prison overcrowding is around 200% (Minister of Justice)

Burundi: prison overcrowding is around 200% (Minister of Justice)

The justice minister is visiting different provinces of Burundi. Domine Banyankimbona deplores the judges’ actions sending people to prison for minor offences. She denounces that in Burundi “sending people to prison has become a principle whereas in other countries it is an exception”. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Everywhere it is the same message: avoid sending people to prisons for simple offences.

Minister Banyankimbona affirms that various meetings of the Council of Ministers have come to the conclusion that “people are threatened by the actions of employees of the judicial system, judges and magistrates”.

She receives grievances and complaints from disgusted litigants.

Domine Banyankimbona urges judges to “adopt strategies aimed at avoiding biased decisions”.

For rape cases, she is very severe. “We do not play with cases of rape. If you continue freeing perpetrators of rape, tomorrow it is our children and grandchildren who will be victims of sexual assault”, she insisted in the province of Cibitoke ( northwest of the country) after learning of a case of a rapist who was released after only two months in detention. The victim’s mother (a five-year-old girl) said she was “traumatized”.

Prison overpopulation

According to the minister for justice, several detainees staying in remand centers should be freed.

“How do you want us we progress. We send people to prison for nothing. That’s not how it works,” she repeats.

“Put people in detention has become a principle in Burundi. In other countries, it is an exception” she went on.

For the movement of Burundian girls and women for peace and security, many prisoners die of hunger, do not have sufficient rooms to sleep and do not have easy access to health care. This movement believes that “judges should respect ethics and deontology, carry out the necessary analyzes before pronouncing a judgment”.

Jeanne d’Arc Zaninyana, executive director of this movement, asks the minister in charge of justice to “take measures in the sense of ending this situation instead of just talking”.

“But what she says is pure truth,” she finds.

According to figures given by associations for the defense of prisoners’ rights and the general directorate of penitentiary affairs, the 11 prisons in the small East African nation house nearly 13,000 detainees while they have a capacity reception of only 4,149 people.

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