Inmates petition President over Maafushi prison conditions

Inmates in Maafushi jail have sent a petition to President Mohamed Nasheed complaining that conditions in the prison have deteriorated to the point where few inmates can sleep.

The petition signed by 236 prisoners claimed that inmates now allocate time to sleep, one after another, on the floor without bedsheets or pillows. The petition also claimed that the inmates do not have good medical facility or a safe environment in which to live.

“Only a few inmates can sleep when it rains,’’ said the petition. ‘’The capacity of the units is for 35 men, but we note that 90-100 inmates are kept in each unit.’’

The prisoner’s petition lists benefits discontinued after the government came to power.

The list of complaints sent by the inmates includes:

  1. Inmates are not given the opportunity to conduct the five prayers, or the Friday prayers.
  2. An increase in the number of issues related to hygiene.
  3. Two doctors working in the prison system are writing prescriptions without identifying the disease.
  4. The government used to provide religious books but this has come to a halt.
  5. Inmates were not receiving 3-7 grams of milk daily that had been allocated.
  6. TVs and radios on which to watch the news and entertain the inmates have been restricted.
  7. Pillows, mattress and bed-sheets were not provided, and were instead appropriated by jail officers claiming that the government could not afford to provide them.
  8. Lightbulb, fans and other electrical products were are restricted and inmates are in pitch darkness at night.

The petition also claimed that the prison still contains inmates convicted for actions which are not crimes under the current constitution, such as several who participated in an anti-government riot in 2003.

On May 13, families of inmates claimed the jail was “in chaos”, with neither the inmates nor jail officers reportedly in charge.

A person familiar with Maafushi jail told Minivan News that the situation was deteriorating daily due to unfulfilled pledges the government made to inmates, and that fights between inmates and jail officers was a daily occurrence.

“Inmates in the cells are demanding fulfillment of the pledges President Mohamed Nasheed made, and the jail officers claim they do not have the budget or power they demand.”

Moreover, he said, inmates were claiming that their parents and family had voted for President Nasheed because of the pledges he made during the presidential elections.

”They claim that half of Nasheed’s votes came from inmates’ families, who voted for the pledge that they will give parole and clemency to inmates,” he said.

Shortly after the new government came to power, Special Envoy to the President Ibrahim Hussein Zaki visited the jail.

”He came and told all the inmates to think that they all were free now,” he said. ”He said that within weeks everyone will be free.”

He added that inmates were very happy about the news but “after days there was no sign of them and inmates became disheartened.”

In protest, inmates staged a hunger strike in December 2008.

”The State Minister [for Home Affairs, Ahmed Shafeeq] visited the inmates, bringing a document signed by the president and told everyone to calm down,” he said. “Then again our families, kids and spouses were happy with the news.”

In October, rioting inmates set Maafushi jail on fire, resulting in violent clashes between inmates and prison guards.

”All the inmates were divided into the damaged cells without even cleaning the place,” he said.

On April 20,inmates in Maafushi jail were badly beaten by jail officers in a prison riot on Sunday morning at around 12:15 am, after they were allegedly asked to go out to the prison yard and kneel on the ground.

A person familiar with the case told Minivan News that the riot was sparked when jail officers entered Unit 7 while everyone was sleeping.


8 thoughts on “Inmates petition President over Maafushi prison conditions”

  1. Well, well, well!
    It looks like Minivan News just does not want to talk about what's happenning in the country!

    Where is the real news?

    This should be filed under the same category as dengue fever and Indian art exhibition. Not as front page NEWS.

    I suggest you file this under "News in Brief" section and give us the real news as front page news.

  2. Is this a precursor to release more criminal from jail. Already hundreds of criminals have been released from jail without the approval of the Parole Board. Another hundred have been given jail terms but never taken into custody.STOP BLAMING THE JUDGES ONLY!

  3. Hehehe before yellow madness promising many thing for criminals becouse MDP need number of people for election in 2008, but now MDP is f.up all of them hehehe welcome to MDP hell!so dear Inmates why you give vote for MDP?Are you like promise to legalise drugs?hehehe get MDP torture gift now and be in your hands-made hell, remember if you will die in cells no one from MDP never give you even 1 glass of water you are just gunbeef and your letter will use in toilets !you get what you create!

  4. well.. what is new. promises promises. dont worry inmates. we all outside also listened and brought them to power hoping for better health, fairness, job opportunities on merit " not ability to be part of mob/ muzahira day i day out",democracy, freedom of speech, fair media, no detention without proper legal procedures.... good luck inmates.

  5. Maafushi Jail inmates have burnt the jail twice and yet they expect the best of services. The ordinary people of the country who are law abiding needs good services too. Can the government afford renovating jails every time they burn the jail. Inmates have to be prepared to go through difficulties if they burn their cells.too many people meddling in the affairs of jails have led to the present situation.Leave jails to the care of people who have been trained to do the

  6. i am imran plz humbly requst leave pakistani prison becoz pakistani worrry worried thaknz i will hope mile president deport pakistani

  7. who is going to petition the Male' living condition to the president?

  8. and we still talk about the 30 year old dictatorship. isn't it time for us to move on and remove this dictator (Nasheed) as well?


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