By Dyson Kamwana
Inmates at Kasungu Prison on Tuesday were sensitised on their rights to enable them speak out whenever their rights of accessing fair justice system in prisons and courts have been infringed.
Speaking during the commemoration of ‘International Human Rights Day’ held at the prison, Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI) Regional Team Leader, Alfred Munika said the organization wants to empower inmates to speak out and help wipe out injustices that prisoners encounter in remand prisons and courts.
“It is every person’s responsibility to protect their human rights. This is why we are here at Kasungu Prison encouraging inmates that they should speak out and be responsible for ensuring that their rights are not being infringed by anyone,” Munika said.
In his remarks, Kasungu Prison Officer In-Charge, Senior Superintendent John Singo commended PASI and Irish International Rule of Law for tutoring inmates on their rights on criminal justice system.
“I really appreciate this development because our prisoners have understood their rights to access fair treatment before and after the judgment of their cases.
“An important aspect is that they have equipped inmates on how they can follow proper procedures when they want to be granted bail in court among other things,” Singo said.
Meanwhile, it has been noted that there are only three judges in the central region who deal with felony cases, which according to Kasungu Senior Resident Magistrate, Montfort Misunje, leads to delay in the trial of cases.
This development, he said, makes inmates to stay long in remand prisons in the country.
He, however, said other problems facing inmates arise because of lack of knowledge about the criminal justice system.
“The fact that we have few judges who deal with felony cases forces inmates to spend more time on remand because judges have a lot of work to carry out.
“But some of the injustices in court rooms, police cells and remand prisons are because inmates have no knowledge about the justice system.
“We need special efforts from all concerned organisations and citizens to rectify this,” said Misunje.
The International Human Rights day was commemorated under the theme ‘All human beings are born free, and equal in dignity and rights’.-MANA