News

UN official on drugs in for prisons talk

LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka
THE United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional representative has arrived in Zambia to meet judges and other senior officials in the judiciary and Zambia Prisons Service to discuss the rights of prisoners.
And the Zambia Prisons Service has dismissed assertions that politicians benefit more from the prerogative of mercy.
Speaking in Lusaka yesterday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, UNODC regional representative Zhuldyz Akisheva said prisons and justice constitute a serious human rights issue. What does this mean?
“There is need to prevent overcrowding. Some people who end up in prison do not have to be in prison,” she said.
Ms Akisheva said UNODC has had a good working relationship with the Zambian Government in different areas such as trafficking, corruption and HIV prevention.
She is confident that the dialogue she will have with the judiciary and the judges will bear positive results.
Ms Akisheva said UNODC developed a global paper on crises in prisons, which looks at the minimum standards of treatment of convicts in prisons.
And the Zambia Prisons Service has dismissed assertions that politicians benefit more from the prerogative of mercy.
Speaking during the Sunday Interview on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zambia Prisons Service commissioner-general Percy Chato said politicians do not benefit more from pardons because it is the prisons that make recommendations.
“There are three types of pardons: amnesty given to prisoners with minor offences; pardon which involves petitions and also pardon on compassionate grounds,” he said.
And Mr Chato also said a survey would soon be conducted in all the prisons in Zambia to ascertain the extent of sodomy.
He said the survey that was done in 1989 indicates that sodomy is one of the major drivers of HIV infections in prisons.


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