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Saturday, June 6, 2020

HH wants Correctional facilities and Police Cells decongested in the wake of COVID-19

Headlines HH wants Correctional facilities and Police Cells decongested in the wake of...

UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Chief Justice, the Director of Public Prosecution, the Human Rights Commission and the Legal Aid Board proposing measures to be taken to decongest Correctional facilities and Police Cells in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in Zambia.

Mr Hichilema says congested Correctional Facilities and Police Cells are a drain for Communicable diseases even without the present COVID-19 threat the country is faced with.

He said aside from the direct risk to the lives of thousands of inmates held in correctional facilities and police cells the COVID-19 virus presents due to overcrowding, there is a secondary risk to others who interact with them.

Mr Hichilema has proposed the formation of an adhoc national case record review working group, the consequent categorization in the shortest time frame not exceeding 48 hours after the formation of the working group and the need for an analysis to be undertaken by the working group to secure release of inmates based on circumstances.

In a letter dated 24th March 2020 obtained by Hot FM News, Mr Hichilema expressed hope that with joint concerted efforts, the foregoing measures can be given due consideration and acted upon as a matter of urgency without compromising the security of the state in any way.

Below is HH’s full letter

Your Ladyship, Sirs and Madams,

REF: DECONGESTION OF ZAMBIAN PRISONS IN THE WAKE OF THE
COVID 19 PANDEMIC

1. I greet you all as partners in the furtherance of national interest.

2. I am writing to you all in your distinguished capacities as heads of arms of Government and key institutions that govern the well being of inmates in our various correctional facilities and police cells across the Country.

3. The purpose of my writing is to offer our proposals as to how to save the lives of our citizens in view of the threat posed by the Covid 19 pandemic and in view of our heavily congested correctional facilities and police cells which are a cesspool for communicable diseases, even without the present Covid 19 threat the country is faced with.

4. Aside from the direct risk to the lives of the thousands at inmates held in the above mentioned facilities that the Covid 19 virus presents due to over crowding, there is a secondary risk to others who interact with them, including but not limited to prison authorities, judiciary staff, members of the legal fraternity and numerous others that I need not itemise here, who in turn interact with their families and the general public at large.

Our facilities thus have the potential to become deadly breeding grounds for the spread of this infection.

5. The need to decongest our correctional facilities cannot therefore be over emphasised and this letter is aimed at providing possible ways of achieving that from our perspective as drawn from discussions we have had with various stakeholders.

6. We thus propose the following:

(a) The formation, as a matter of urgency, of an ad hoc National Case
Record Review Working Group (“the Working Group”) comprising
volunteer legal practitioners, law students, paralegals, police officers,
prisons officers and legal service organisations such as Justice Forum Zambia Limited, Caritas Zambia Limited and others under the supervision of the National Prosecutions Authority and the Legal Aid Board to review all case records, dockets and goal delivery returns so as to ascertain the status of all inmates held in our facilities and the stage of prosecution of all pending matters beginning with the most congested facilities.

In doing this, the Working Group shall also have
regard to the risk level of each facility given its geographic location.

(b) The consequent categorisation in the shortest possible time frame (not exceeding 48 hours after the formation of the Working Group) of
inmates into the following categories at a minimum:

(i) Inmates in police cells for prolonged periods without arraignment before Court;

(ii) Remandees whose trials are yet to commence;

(iii) Remandees whose trials are yet to be concluded;

(iv) Remandees awaiting Judgement;

(v) Prohibited Immigrants;

(vi) Convicts amenable for early release;

(vii) Inmates amenable for transfer to open air facilities; and

(viii) Juvenile, elderly and terminally ill inmates.

 

(c) It is further proposed that following categorisation, further analysis be undertaken by the Working Group to secure release of inmates based on the circumstances of each case as follows:

(i) In cases where inmates are facing minor charges or have scant evidence against them, but are held in police cells, that these be released on police bond or unconditionally as a matter of urgency and as the case maybe.

(ii) In cases where trials are yet to commence owing to challenges
with putting forward evidence, remandees may be discharged
upon withdrawal of the cases against them pursuant to Section
88 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia (“the CPC”);

(iii) Where trials have stalled for any other reason and the cases are not of a serious nature in the opinion of the DDP`s Office, Nolle
Prosequi may be entered or cases discharged as appropriate pursuant to the provisions of Sections 81, 82 and 88 above mentioned of the CPC;

(iv) In deserving cases where there are bailable offences, bail may be
granted on lenient term or where there are unfulfilled bail conditions these may be reviewed;

(v) All Judges and magistrates presiding over both criminal and civil matters be directed to temporarily halt all civil proceedings until
further notice save in very exceptional circumstances so as to
give priority to criminal proceedings;

(vi) All Judges and Magistrates with pending final Judgements or
with pending Rulings on no case to answer be directed to
expedite delivery of such Judgements and Rulings;

(vii) All Judges and Magistrates be encouraged to give non-custodial
sentences in accordance with law in deserving cases;

(viii) All convicts amenable for early release be released expeditiously;

(ix) All inmates amenable for transfer to open air facilities be so
transferred; and

(x) Juvenile, elderly and terminally ill inmates be given special consideration for speedy trial, early release or transfer given their fragility and susceptibility to the Covid 19 disease.

 

It is our hope that with our joint and concerted effort, the foregoing
measures can be given due consideration and acted upon as a matter of urgency without compromising the security of the state in any way.

An additional and overriding requirement in the implementation of the proposed measures outlined above would be to ensure continuous screening of all inmates for Covid 19 both prior to and upon release.

It is our sincere belief that working together with all stake holders including the Civil Society Organisations named above and all other concerned CSO`s
copied here, we can achieve a proactive rather than reactive response to the
Covid 19 threat as outlined above so as to save countless Zambian lives.

I remain yours in service,

HAKAINDE HICHILEMA
UPND PRESIDENT.

[Read 1,772 times, 1 reads today]

38 COMMENTS

  1. Wishful thinking!!! Are you the president of Zambia to say ‘I want’. Why do you always get it wrong Hakainde. You are truly under 5.

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  2. Hakainde Ichilema has a good point let’s support this call for Zambia’s health and well being.

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    • Hijacking the Government ….jumping on an issue he knows gov is working on…He thinks he is clever. This is what HH should be encouraging “his MPs” in parliament to be advocating for…not giving them instructions like sch kids to be walking out of parley.

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  3. You want to remove them where they are safe from the virus and take them where they can easily get infected! What kind of reasoning is this? Who will take the virus into correctional facility? It is like moving someone from Zambia to Italy to avoid being infected!

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  4. HH mya be getting a little too big headed, he may have the right intention, but the tone of this letter is more of a demand than a request.
    Clearly, all right thinking Zambians understand the need to release prisoners, however, the question of how to intergrate them into society has not been answered, it is not as simple as clearing out the prisons.
    lets suppose 6 000 prisons are released, what are they suppposed to do in terms of work? where are they supposed to live? A better option, i opine, is to ensure strict screening in the prisons system, and that any new inmates are isolated for three weeks before being brought into the general population. That way, you keep the virsu ought and ensure people serve their sentence.

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  5. We heard he has got a big house, so we can release those criminals on condition that you house them in your mansion ba HH. I am sure they will fit in well as you are also a white collar criminal after all. Kz

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  6. These prisoners can remain there(1) make sure when taking new prisoners quarantine them for 3 weeks before joining the group(2) don’t take prisoners to the crowded people like markets,walking in towns by themselves (3) lock these criminals why release them they will pass our people some cases are just fresh like cow milk

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  7. Very wise analysis Mr HH I agree with you, I do believe that the govt has already directed that misdeameanor cases be given non custodial sentences or released on Police Bond which is a good move.

    However all those arrested who committed serious crimes such as rape, aggravated robbery and taking part in the murders if innocent suspects in the recent mob injustice attacks should remain in prison at all costs, we don’t want to see the murderers of those innocent people walking the streets to commit more violent crimes.

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  8. Hichilema should have copied the letter to himself because he’s contributing to the congestion in Police cells. The Police will always lockup his cadres whenever they butcher each other. Even as he was righting his useless letter his cadres were busy fighting. Stop sponsoring political violence or shut up!

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  9. Why is HH thinking the opposite way,which side of a coin is prune to COVID-19 inside prison or outside, because prisoners are like they are already quarantined but why bringing them to the area which is dangerous to get the virus? is that what you call thinking? He was suppose to say don’t expose prisoners to the out side prison like taking them out of prison to work for the community,as HH seen any country in the world releasing prisoners.Bo HH is what you call fighting covid 19? kkkkkkkkk what a president.

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  10. Is that what you call fighting covid 19 is that proper thinking bo HH.You want to oppose people to covid 19.You are thinking opposite.Dont just say for the sake of gaining popularity, this is not politics please.We have not recorded any case in any prison and these people are more like they are already quarantined.All you were suppose to say is not govt to take these prisoners outside for some community works.Think twice before you talk bo HH.

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  11. Badala you are becoming irrelevant every second.iam worried what will become of you by the time we get to elections time in 2021

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  12. Let him write to relevant people and don’t copy media… if you copy media then it becomes political!!!

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  13. This is the type of leadership Zambia needs . We Tonga are very level headed and hardworking unlike the thieves from east and northern.

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  14. @Tarino orange without the thieves from east and north your people this time could have died of hunger.
    Are there Tonga in prisons for stealing?

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  15. Majority in prisons are from north and east. Just other day I read about how Kelvin fube bwalyas son in America has been arrested for armed robbery. The boy even shot a dog. It is inborn in especially Bembas to steal. Southern is the food basket for Zambia.

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  16. Mr Tarino you are dangerous to society. We have bumper harvest of maize in Zambia without your province. Be civil in thinking and travel

  17. Evidence is already in court.you think you go unnoticed?wait
    Iwe Chi talino no tribalism here .some of us feel useluselu when you mention your stinky clan by your tribal.

  18. Tarino you just want to blackmail the Tonga. You wouldn’t really say that if you were one of them. And all those playing along are buying into tribal stuff

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  19. And LT Admin as usual just sleeping whilst this impostor is busy spewing tribal nonsense on their website!!

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  20. Tarino.you need be banned in this website. Yo brain they stink. Angry man who be very annoyed all time.

  21. HH, you are late. The president already gave directives to the commissioner of prisons to ensure that those with no serious crimes are released as soon as possible.

  22. What is needed is to restrict visits to these facilities in the meantime. For presidential pardons, these are supposed to be handled in a better manner where there is a clear program in terms of integration into society, support for those with entrepreneurial skills and empowerment so that these guys do not go back to their old ways. The other issue is that of repatriation to their homes and follow ups. Right now, if you go to mukushi & Kabwe, there are a lot of criminal activities by these x-convicts

  23. I thought this issue was discussed almost two weeks now and people have already devising systems of protecting inmates. For instance visits have been stopped like in hospitals. I am waiting for our richest man in Zambia to donate ka 1million like the Dangotes and Tony Emelu have done. If its the issue trust the money or materials can be given to the civil societies but it will be good to have a headline HH donates K1m to DMMU to support the fight against Covid-19. As opposed to writing to the media what to do without any support in funding the so called proposals.

  24. I also thought this was being addressed. Didn’t the IG issue a directive to that effect a short while back? I think the man is a trifle DELUDED and has an over inflated idea of his own importance. The ironic thing is that HH thinks he is politically savvy.

  25. SOME DEMANDS BY HH ARE FAR FETCHED, THE GOVERNMENT IS ALREADY IMPLEMENTING
    MAJORITY IS HIS DEMANDS,
    I DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THOSE AWAITING TRIAL LIKE THE “GASSING TERRORIST” TO COME OUT SO SOON.
    WE WANT THE TRUTH TO COME OUT, WE WANT TO KNOW THEIR SPONSORS
    NOT LONG AGO THEY SENT THIS NATION INTO SELF LOCKDOWN, PEOPLE HAVING SLEEPNESS NIGHTS
    AND STOCKING ALL SORTS OF WEAPONS IN THEIR HOMES IN THE EVENT OF AN ATTACK.

    THE DUE PROCESS OF THE LAW AND COURTS BE MEET FOR THEM UNFORTUNATELY
    i thank you

  26. Good morning Mr H. H, I have read your demands with pleasure and pleased to note that majority of them are already being implemented by the government.
    However, I do not subscribe to your demands to releasing some of those awaiting trials like the “ GASSING TERRORIST now, I smell a rat.The nation wants to know the truth about them and their sponsors if any.
    Not long ago they sent the whole country Zambia into “SELF LOCKDOWN”, movements partially restricted and having sleepless night for fear of being gassed and attacked. It was hell.
    Those Mr. HH am afraid must face the LAW and their sponsors must the exposed. Hopefully its not an opposition political party since we have more than 20 in the country
    May the souls of those that lost lives during the period REST IN PEACE.

  27. Those people behind bars are much safer that those outside.In jail there has been no reported case of covid-19.We can safely say those people behind bars are already in isolation ..quarantined. Once they are out they might risk contracting the virus.Solution is just not to allow visitors and warders have to be screened from time to time.

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