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HRW report: Torture and impunity in Jordan’s prisons

Human Rights Watch (HRW) publicou hoxe un informe de 95 páxinas sobre maltrato e tortura nas prisións de Xordania e a impunidade de que gozan quen cometen estes abusos. O informe leva por título “Torture and Impunity in Jordan’s Prisons: Reforms Fail to Tackle Widespread Abuse”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

Torture remained widespread and routine in Jordan’s prisons at the time of HRW’s research in 2007. Updates to our investigation in 2008 reveal that problems of torture and accountability persist. We received allegations of ill-treatment, often amounting to torture, from 66 out of 110 prisoners interviewed. Prison guards torture inmates with near impunity because police prosecutors and police judges at the Police Court do too little to pursue cases against their fellow officers. Prison conditions remain poor, especially health, food, and visitation provisions, despite an ambitious but ill-considered reform program excessively focused on building new prisons.

This report is based on HRW’s visits to seven out of ten of Jordan’s prisons in August and October 2007, and in April 2008. We interviewed 110 prisoners at random, except for specifically identified administrative detainees and Islamist prisoners to whom we asked to speak. We interviewed prison directors and medical staff, and held talks with high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Interior, the Public Security Directorate, and the prison service.

Jordan’s Ministry of Interior, Public Security Directorate, prison service, prison reform program, human rights office and Police Court almost always facilitated our requests and were always open to discussions. The willingness of these representatives of the Jordanian government to grant us access to their prison facilities and to meet with us repeatedly to discuss our concerns as well as particular cases is commendable and reflects a positive commitment to transparency and reform.

Despite the PSD’s openness to human rights organizations, high-ranking officials regularly dismiss independent human rights reporting as unreliable or politically motivated. […]

Most common forms of torture include beatings with cables and sticks and the suspension by the wrists of inmates from metal grates for hours at a time. Guards flog the defenseless prisoner with knotted electrical cables, beat him with hoses and truncheons, or kick him with fists and boots.

Islamists accused or convicted of crimes against national security (Tanzimat) face greater abuse than ordinary prisoners. Prison authorities currently house Tanzimat prisoners in separate facilities in small-group isolation within two prisons, Juwaida and Swaqa; since July 2007, the government has only rarely allowed them to mix with fellow prisoners. Because they often act as a group pressing demands in prison, guards occasionally punish them collectively. Such punishment happened to the Tanzimat inmates in Swaqa prison in July 2007 and August 2007, and to the Tanzimat inmates in Juwaida prison in June 2007. (This report does not cover earlier such incidents that took place in 2006.)

Complaints of incidents of torture have decreased recently, the National Center for Human Rights reported, but remain a common occurrence, as HRW’s research shows. Torture and ill-treatment in prisons do not reflect a general policy, although individual prison directors, high-ranking guards, and special forces dealing with prison riots, have ordered and participated in large-scale beatings.

Torture remains a tolerated practice in Jordan’s prisons because mechanisms for individual accountability are lacking. The deterrent effect of a royal proclamation against torture is less than that of effectively prosecuting an individual guard. Yet, the esprit de corps of the PSD, its reluctance to prosecute, name, and shame torturers within its ranks decidedly militates in favor of settling incidents of torture quietly and internally, if at all, with only a few egregious cases making it to the courts.

In Jordan, PSD prosecutors and PSD judges investigate, prosecute and try their fellow officers for neglect of duties, abuse of power, insults to prisoners, and torture. Deficient investigations, lackluster prosecutions, and lenient sentences combine to preserve an uncomfortably wide margin in which prison guards torture with impunity. […]


8 Outubro 2008 - Posted by | Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Jordan, Politics

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