Friday, August 10, 2012

Prisons: 4 Deaths in 6 Months; Cause of Scattred's Co-Convict’s Death Yet Known

Alarming death of prisoners has followed the release a few months ago of human rights reports that expose inhumane, degrading conditions of Gambian prisons.
In space of six months, four deaths of inmates at Mile 2, the country’s central prison, situated at the outskirts of Banjul, have been reported, though an ex-inmate had told this paper that what was reported ‘is the tip of the ice bag’.
“It is true that Micheal Uche Thomas has died,” the Commissioner of Prisons, Ansumana Manneh on Monday told The Daily News, confirming the death of yet another prisoner caged at Mile 2, on Sunday July 29.
The death of Thomas, a 47-year-old Nigerian resident in The Gambia, came barely one month after a 63-year-old man, Pa Lamin Darboe, who was undergoing trial on drugs, died.
Married to a Gambian, Thomas was convicted last year for sedition, together two Gambian youth, Modou Keita and Ebrima Jallow, and former Information Minister Amadou Scattred Janneh, who was jailed life for treason.
A printer by profession, he was sentenced to serve 3 years in jail after the High Court in Banjul found him guilty for the printing of T-Shirts bearing the inscription: ‘Coalition for Change The Gambia, End to Dictatorship Now’.
Thomas spent more than a week a at Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH), where he was confirmed dead.
Last month, this paper reported that he had contacted pneumonia and tuberculosis early this year, but the cause of his death was yet to be known as we went to press yesterday.
“I cannot know the cause of his death until we receive the post-mortem report,” prison commissioner Manneh said, adding that the body was still at the hospital waiting to be examined.
He however confirmed that prison medic had contacted the family of the deceased.
Author: Binta A Bah

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