By Tabora Bojang
Suspects being detained at the Barra and Amdalai police stations are not allocated funds for feeding, forcing police officers to dip into their pockets to feed them, the National Assembly Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters heard Monday.
The committee is scrutinising conditions at detention centres as part of its second phase of inspecting prisons and detention centres across the country to bring them in line with acceptable standards.
The committee chaired by Serekunda West member Madi Ceesay visited the police stations yesterday to assess human rights conditions of detainees in their cells.
“The only human rights issue that the committee is able to detect in these [Barra and Amdalai] stations is the feeding for the inmates. If you are arrested and taken to a cell you need to be fed by the police but actually these two police stations are saying that they are not getting funding from the police headquarters as prisoners feeding. When we pressurised them [officers] to understand why that is the case, we discovered that the station officers in these stations are not requesting for it [funds for the feeding inmates]. As far as we [NAMs] know, we have faced these kinds of things in our first round of visits and some adjustments were made in the past budget to cover those areas. So, it is now for the station officers to make formal requests to the police headquarters so that they get funding for the prisoners feeding,” NAM Ceesay explained.
“Even as inmates they have rights that have to be respected and they must have proper feeding and accommodation to take care of their health,” the UDP NAM charged.
He said the committee will compile a report after its inspections and provide recommendations that will improve the human rights in the country especially for those arrested, detained and under prosecution or convicted.
“After compiling our report, we will invite all the security chiefs to parliament for them to respond to our concerns and observations,” Chairman Ceesay stated.