Gabon News and Events

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Op-ed: Inadequate and violent policing in KwaZulu-Natal: What's behind it?

KwaZulu-Natal has long suffered from inadequate, corrupt and violent policing. Recent events have simply made it more obvious. The problem of policing in the province dates from before the transition to democracy. Policing is a national function - in South Africa is in crisis and in KwaZulu-Natal the crisis is magnified, writes Jean Redpath.

Op-ed: When the rich buy indemnity, justice is denied

How much discretion does a prosecutor have to decline to prosecute? Is mediation always a good thing? Is there sometimes an obligation to prosecute? Does compensation for the victim trump societal criminal justice interests? These are vexing questions, especially when attempting to answer them in the abstract. A recent case may help in crystallising some thoughts.

South Africa's white paper on remand detention management finalised South Africa's white paper on remand detention management finalised

The final draft of the South African government's White Paper on Remand Detention Management has been published on the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) website, bringing the policy framework in line with provisions in Correctional Matters Amendment Act. The White Paper marks the end of a process aimed at closing a policy gap in the 2005 White Paper on Corrections in respect of awaiting-trial detainees.

10 000 Eritrean political prisoners 20 years after independence, says Amnesty 10 000 Eritrean political prisoners 20 years after independence, says Amnesty

Amnesty International said in a report released on 9 May 2013 that Eritrea's prisons are filled with thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of whom are never heard from again. Those detained include government critics, journalists and people practising an unregistered religion, as well as people trying to leave the country or avoid indefinite conscription into national service.

Outdated offence used to arrest Zambian activist Outdated offence used to arrest Zambian activist

An activist has been arrested in Zambia for "inciting the public to take part in indecent activities" authorities have said. This offence was adopted in Zambia in 1898 via England's Vagrancy Act of 1824. Activist Paul Kasonkomona was arrested immediately after appearing on a live television show on Sunday 7 April. In the show he outlined measures to combat HIV, which he argued included the decriminalisation of same-sex acts.

Man dragged 400m by South African Police vehicle dies in detention Man dragged 400m by South African Police vehicle dies in detention

The man, a 27-year-old Mozambican taxi driver identified as Mido Macia, in detention of head injuries and internal bleeding, according to an initial post mortem report. The incident was captured on video by bystanders. The video shows the man scuffling with police, who subdue him. He is then bound to the back of the pick-up by his arms before the vehicle drives off in front of scores of witnesses in the east Johannesburg area of Daveyton. Nine policemen have been arrested and charged with murder.

Journalist detained by security agents in Mali Journalist detained by security agents in Mali

The African Press Organization (APO) reports that state security agents in Mali detained an editor on 7 March 2013 in connection with his newspaper’s publication of an open letter criticizing a financial package awarded to a former coup leader.

SA Constitutional Court finds government liable for prisoner contracting TB in pre-trial detention SA Constitutional Court finds government liable for prisoner contracting TB in pre-trial detention

Mr Lee, was detained at Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison in pre-trial detention from 1999 to 2004, appearing in court no fewer than 70 times. Mr Lee contracted TB while in prison. The court found there is a legal duty on the responsible authorities to provide adequate health care services as part of the constitutional right of all prisoners to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity. The court further found there is a probable chain of causation between the negligent omissions by the responsible authorities and Mr Lee’s infection with TB. The case was remitted to the High Court to determine the amount of damages.

Amnesty releases report alleging torture by Rwandan military

On 8 October 2012 Amnesty International released a report entitled "Shrouded in Secrecy: Illegal Detention and torture by Military Intelligence". The report alleges that dozens of people suspected of "threatening national security" have been held in a network of secret detention facilities run by the military.

Uganda claims criminal justice improvements through better co-ordination

The Principal Judge of Uganda, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine on behalf of the Chief Justice of Uganda, presented a paper at the African Correctional Services Association Biennial Conference in Kampala, Uganda, which suggests there has been vast improvement in the operation of the criminal justice system in Uganda through the implementation of the Justice Law & Order Sector (JLOS) Programme since 1999.

Supplementary Guidelines on Health Conditions in Prisons

Riccardo Conti, head of the Uganda delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presented the ICRC supplementary guidelines on prison conditions to the African Correctional Services Association Conference held in Kampala, Uganda.

Togo's prison conditions lead to deaths

Togo has only twelve prisons, which on average hold more than twice their capacity. The crowded conditions exacerbate poor hygiene, food, medical care, leading to disease and death.

Sudan political detainees released

A number of political detainees including opposition figures who were arrested as part of a major crackdown last month were released after more than a month in detention. It is unclear whether any were actually charged. Some detainees had spent more than two months in detention.

Only three percent of new cases tried in a year in Liberia

A report by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on Liberia's justice system has revealed that only 3 per cent of cases docketed in the Circuit Courts in 2010 went to trial, leaving thousands awaiting trial in the country's prisons.

New Provisional Somalian Constitution approved

On 1 August 2012 Somalia's 825-member National Constituent Assembly (NCA) approved a new constitution for the country by a large majority. Traditional elders, who had selected the NCA members in a process backed by the United Nations, will also choose a new parliament, which in turn is scheduled to choose Somalia's new leader on August 20, when the mandate of the Transitional Federal Government expires.

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