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RUF and AFRC prisoners complain of ill treatment

RUF and AFRC prisoners complain of ill treatment

The Revolutionary United Force (RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) prisoners running jail sentences in the Republic of Rwanda for bearing the greatest responsibilities for the decade long war in Sierra Leone have in a letter dated 7th September 2011 written the Director of the Lawyer Center for Legal Assistance, Sierra Leone, through the Principal Defender of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.  In a nine page letter of complaint signed by Issa Hassan Sesay, Augustine Ato Bao, Alex Tamba Brahima, and Allieu Musa Kondawai respectively, and copied to all three political parties that have representations in this current government, to complain about the way and manner in which they have been treated since 31st October 2009.  Among others that were personally copied are Mr. Eldred Collins and the Ombudsman.  They recalled Tuesday 27th October 2009 when the Special Court Chief of Detention, Mr. Raymond Cardinal, announced to them that the Acting Registrar and staff will brief each group on sentence enforcement and transfer to Rwanda, which they strongly rejected the idea of factional or group meetings and pleaded to meet with them as Sierra Leoneans the letter stated.

Before their departure to Rwandaon the 31st October 2009, the Registrar and staff assured them that they would meet a professional medical doctor who would handle all their medical affairs at Mpanga Prison in theRepublic ofRwanda.  According to the letter, they only meet with pediatric nurses who cannot speak English and who administer the wrong drugs.

In another development, they state that the Special Court Registrar and her staff failed to answer any of the questions put to them in that October 27th meeting; noting that the only comment the SCSL Registrar made was that the answers to their questions would be emailed to them inRwanda.

They were further informed that their prison sentences would be in line with acceptable international law and standards.

Ironically, they pointed out that the only international law and standards met inRwandaare: the big painted building, one white wooden bed, white wooden chair, table, cupboard, mosquito net, two pillows, blanket, bed sheet, bath towel, and a floor rag to dust the feet  in each cell.

More on the story in our next edition.

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