The tragedy in prisons

Tuesday, 31 October 2017 01:52 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 55 times

Afghan jails are known for human rights violations. It is not something new in Afghan history; it is beset with incidents of mistreatment of prisoners by the ruling governments. While the detention facilities should be a place of correction, they have turned into “criminal and killer-making factories” in Afghanistan. Instead of rehabilitating prisoners and reintegrating them with the society, the prisons alienate them. In addition to misbehavior, one other major problem in prisons is the continued detention of people with unclear fates, or those who have already served their terms. These people are behind bars either because of the negligence of officials, or they don’t have money or will to bribe the corrupt officials. 

 

 

The fresh findings of Mashrano Jirga about conditions in Pul-i-Charkhi Prison are disturbing. The investigation has found out there are 1850 inmates with unclear fates, and about 900 more, including the elderly and those found innocent, are illegally held. Among the first category, some inmates have been waiting for up to six years for their sentences. It is extremely shocking to keep people, not one or two, but hundreds, in prisons for six years without court’s sentences. Under such circumstances, how will the people own the government? How the legal and judicial institutions, that cannot prove whether or not a person is guilty in six years, be expected to deliver justice?

Moreover, there are 900 prisoners who have already served their terms, or are old, but are still being kept. It is illegal, and constitutes a crime to continue to imprison people beyond the jail term, or deprive them of their freedom. All those who are aware of this practice, but have turned a blind eye to it because of their personal interests, or other considerations are involved in the crime. These incidents show that Afghan prisons are on no account rehabilitation centers because people are forced to commit another crime -- bribe officials -- to be freed even after their period of imprisonment concludes. 

The presence of a huge of number of inmates with no clear fates in a single detention center is a big disgrace for the government, and a tragedy. The National Unity Government, especially President Ghani, should no longer ignore the disaster. If he cannot prevent other wrongdoings in the prisons, he should at least determine the fate of inmates, and release those who have already served their jail terms.