Torture in African prisons

Torture in African prisons

Network Africa at the weekend, 22nd November 2008

There has been growing outrage in Kenya following the beating and torture of inmates in one of the country's maximum security prisons, Kamiti.

In the incident that was secretly filmed using a mobile phone, prison warders, conducting a search for illicit mobile phones, stripped the prisoners naked and beat them with batons critically injuring a number of them.

This is not the first time prison officers have been accused of mistreating and torturing inmates.

Kenya's government has subsequently sent two senior prison officers on compulsory leave and disciplined five prison wardens over the incident.

In this interview with the BBC's Josphat Makori, retired prison officer, Mr Ngeiwa - a warder in Kenya prisons for 36 years - gives his view of the incident and what goes on behind prison walls.

Listen Former warder's testimony 2 mins 48 secs

Behind bars in Cameroon

Cameroon prisons have long been notorious for the torture of prisoners which has sometimes resulted in death.

Pius Awa was arrested following a fight in a bar, and he says, he spent three years in the country's Kondenge prison, never tried and eventually released.

He describes his time inside.

Listen Former prisoner's testimony 3 mins 11 secs

Human rights

Godfrey Odongo of Amnesty International argues that prisoners' rights should be protected regardless of their crimes or status in society.

Listen Amnesty International 3 mins 37 secs


Government reaction

  • We want to be able to be a country that is able too serve everybody's human rights... and we mean that. So, the excesses that were witnessed in Kamiti will certainly be dealt with.

    Kenyan VP Kalonzo Musyoka