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Court cases soar as prison van breaks down

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Thursday, June 11, 2020

File: Inmates at Juba Central Prison are reportedly living in poor conditions | Credit | HRW

A human rights lawyer has called on the judiciary to reduce case backlogs in Juba after they stopped hearing cases over transport challenges.

 

There is only one prison van used to transport suspects to courts in Juba, according to human rights advocates.

However, officials say it broke down about four months ago, increasing case backlogs amidst coronavirus pandemic.

“Inmates are not attending court sessions because of the breakdown of the car that takes them to court,” Godfrey Victor Bula, the executive director for Justice and Human Rights Observatory Advocates told Eye Radio on Thursday.

“I would like to make this appeal that you cannot fight Coronavirus when you don’t take to account such a situation, because if anything happens in the prison, all of us will be the victims so am appealing to the institutions of justice, the ministry of justice and the judiciary that this has to be put right.”

Last month, Human Rights Watch said prisons in South Sudan are overcrowded, unsanitary, and have inadequate medical care: the perfect breeding ground for spreading Covid-19.

The human rights watchdog urged the concerned authorities to release pre-trial detainees and prisoners who have served most of their terms, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

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