Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Report on visit to Morong 43

CONFERENCE OF LAWYERS IN THE ASIA PACIFIC (COLAP)

International Lawyers group arrived past 14:00 hrs Manila time into the prison where the prisoners are being held.

Upon arrival, the group was meant to visit the female inmates first yet for no apparent reason we were sent to visit the males first. Access to male’s prison was delayed with no apparent reason either.

No searches at all were conducted on the visitors.

Cameras were not allowed to come in, yet after some negotiations with jail authorities, 1 camera was allowed for the visit room prepared for us. Pictures from the lawyers’ photo camera were taken by jail officers.

Before the arrival of the male inmates, which was pretty delayed, some family members joined the lawyers’ group. They reported the following:
  1. Before transfer from the military complex, they had no access or idea where their relatives were.
  2. After their transfer from the military complex to the jail, they were granted easy access in the same conditions of the other prisoners.
  3. Food is not given to the prisoners and they have to manage with just over US$1 a day. Water is not drinkable and they have to buy it or get it from family members. Family is allowed to bring some food and water to the inmates.
  4. They report similar treatment as other inmate’s families.

Inmates arrived just before 15:00 hrs Manila time, just for the time of the Muslim prayer, which took place in the mosque near where the meeting was supposed to take place, having heavy noise which impeded flown communication between the parties. The Muslim prayer took place during most of the time prepared for the meeting limiting communication capacities between the inmates and the observation group.

Inmates reported the following during their detention at the military camp:
  1. Torture by beatings, handcuffing, blindfolding, pulled fingers and arms, electricity, water poisoning, touching of private parts, mobilization nearby the shooting ring, and heavy noise during most of time, including at night.
  2. No visits were allowed until fifth, day, including legal counseling.
  3. Arbitrary interrogations and checks.

After their transfer to the jail, medical attention was ineffective, either delayed or insufficient.

Two observers were allowed to come in the cells after some negotiation with the authorities. Cells we some 3m x 5-6mts. Letrine and tap present, yet the latrine had no flow of water, creating a health hazard. Ventilation and light was sufficient. Rain would come in the cells through uncovered windows, wetting the entire floor, which represents a health hazard.

There were 2 3 story beds were the inmates would sleep. Capacity for the cells was allegedly for 9, thus, they were distributed in groups of five, having no crowding reported on the males cells. Beds were actually iron frames where a plywood board would be put so the inmates could lay there. Inmates would use futon-type cushions brought by their relatives.

Inmates would cook their food in the cells with kerosene provided by the jail.

No heavy noise was reported at nighttime by the prisoners. Cleanliness was on the inmates, who kept their cells tidy among the circumstances. Visit to the 3 cells of the male inmates was limited to about 15 minutes, time enough to check them all, which were pretty much on the same conditions.

No serious problems were detected on the cells except for the latrine and the rain coming into the cell.

On the female’s side, I would love to see a report from someone else, since I was looking at the male’s cells, thus arrived late at the meeting with the women.

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