Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The managers of Beira Central Prison have compulsorily transferred an inmate who complained of mistreatment during a visit to the prison by the Sofala Provincial Chief Attorney, Carolina Azarias, a fortnight ago.During the visit, one prisoner, Jorge Garage, had the courage to stand up and denounce the prison managers. “In this prison, we are treated like slaves”, he told Azarias. “Some days ago one of our colleagues died for lack of medical care. We had to make a noise before he was cared for. Our companion was taken to hospital, but unfortunately he died because his state of health was already very critical”. Garage predicted that he would face reprisals for his outspokenness. “I don’t know what my future here will be after this”, he said. “I am sure that something serious will happen against my person”. Garage blew the whistle very publicly, since journalists accompanied Azarias to the prison. His denunciations were broadcast by the independent television station, STV. 
According to STV, the prison management has indeed punished Garage, by sending him and his cellmates to the jail in Dondo, 30 kilometres from Beira. This jail has a poor reputation – one of the accusations Garage made during the visit by Azarias is that prisoners have been kept naked in the cells in Dondo for three months with the right to just one meal a day. STV said a prison guard, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Garage had been transferred to Dondo on the orders of the Beira prison management. When STV contacted the prison director, Fernando Melico, he declined to make any comment on the matter. Azarias was not so reticent. She said she had only heard about the transfer from the press, but, if true, the prison managers concerned had committed a crime. Part of her job is to guarantee decent conditions in the province’s jails, and when she had visited the Beira prison she had encouraged the inmates to speak their minds. Azarias promised to investigate and warned that, if there really has been retaliation against Garage, those responsible will face criminal proceedings.

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