AMERICA/HAITI - About 4,000 prisoners awaiting justice, deaths due to starvation and degradation increase

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 human rights   prisoners   poverty  

Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - Yesterday, 21 February, at St. Anne's Church in Port au Prince, Father Jean Robert Louis celebrated in the presence of family members, the funeral of 20 inmates of the National Penitentiary who died of malnutrition, in conditions of poverty and lack of hygiene. Just a few days ago, the Associated Press news agency had reported the plight of prisoners in the capital.
According to Fides sources, the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince has a capacity of 778 prisoners, that means 2.25 m2 per prisoner below international standards that define the minimum area of 4.50 m2 per prisoner. The seriousness of the situation is demonstrated by the fact that only 548 inmates of this prison were convicted, all others are in prison without trial, some even wait for many years.
In this prison in 2016 60 prisoners died due to illnesses and ill health. Between the 1st and 19th January there was an increase in deaths compared to previous months. The causes of death, reported by prison authorities, are: severe anemia, heart failure, respiratory failure, pulmonary tuberculosis, hypovolemic shock and gastroenteritis.
Father Jean Louis Robert, who had also celebrated the funerals of other prisoners in January, reiterated the Commission's commitment to prison ministry in his parish to continue to support this type of initiative, to celebrate the funeral and burial of the dead. Previously the deceased prisoners were thrown into a mass grave, often without informing the families. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 22/02/2017)