4,000 “rotting” suspects stun LAZ


By Nation Reporter

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) will verify information that 4,000 suspects have remained in jail for as long as 10 years, LAZ president George Chisanga said yesterday.

He said the allegations of detaining suspects without trial for years were serious and deserved verification.

He was reacting to claims by Prison Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) executive director Godfrey Malembeka that over 4,000 suspects are in prisons without trail.

And the Huam Right Commission says legal forms were necessary in the justice delivery system to serve suspects such as the 4,000 who are languishing in remand without trial for as many years.

HRC chief information, education and training Mwelwa Muleya said the commission was concerned that 4,000 prisoners were languishing in prisons without trial.

Mr Muleya said legal reforms were necessary and that the function of the commission was to advise government on how human rights could be improved in the country.

He said the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code and the flagging off of the bail and bond project would help suspects in prisons to have speedy trials to decongest prisons. Mr Muleya however revealed that the HRC was closely working and consulting with the ministry of Justice and other line ministries on amending the Criminal Procedure Code which he described as being broad in terms of interpretation on who was entitled to bail and police bond.

“Suspects in prisons have continued to languish in prisons due to some administrative issues in the Criminal Procedure Code that determine who the police and the courts give bail and police bond.

“HRC is concerned with the congestion of prisons and we are working closely with the Ministry of Justice and other line ministries on how to amend some ambiguous sections in the criminal procedure code act on the conditions for bail and bond before the draft is presented to Cabinet and possible enactment by Parliament,” he said.

Mr Muleya said that the correct interpretation of giving out bail and bond by the police and courts would be help normalise the prison congestion because most of the cases do not even warrant detention and expressed concern that even some magistrates could not interpret the ‘fixed abode’ and refused to grant bail to villagers because their houses do not have house numbers.

He said that administrative issues in the Act had exerted pressure on the judiciary which was already overloaded with cases and hoped that once the draft is presented to Cabinet and finally to Parliament for possible enactment it would lessen the pressure on congestion.

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