-200 inmates in 70 capacity prison
The Sanniquellie Central Prison in Sanniquellie City, Nimba County is faced with serious congestion as the 70 capacity prison now accommodates nearly 200 inmates. The NewDawn Nimba Correspondent, who visited the Sanniquellie Central Prison last week said, the prison compound was constructed thru the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL Quick Impact Project, and formally delegated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the 2010 July 26 Independence Day Celebrations in Nimba.
During the dedicatory ceremony, UNMIL had reminded that the prison can accommodate only 70 inmates at a time. Our correspondent said Nimba County has 12 magisterial courts and one circuit court, which send suspects to jail daily something that is causing the congestion.
Some of the suspects told our correspondent they have spent more than three years in prison without trial. “My brother since 2010 I entered the prison up to present, I have no access to judgment”, one inmate complained.
Another lamented, “Like for me, I entered this facility in 2013” while others said they have been behind bar since 2014 and 2015 without being given their days in court. Most of them said they were sent to jail for US$10.00, cell phone and phone batteries, among others.
“Like for me, I owe my friend 300,000 Liberian Dollars so he brought me here in 2014 but since then I have not been able to face judgment”, another inmate lamented. Some of the inmates are serving life sentences at the Sanniquellie Central Prison and they don’t have access to sexual activities so they are allegedly engaged in deviant sexual behavior by forcibly demanding new inmates to have sex with their fellow males in detention.
When contacted, prison superintendent Torwon Gonquoi, confirmed the over crowdedness of the compound. Superintendent Gonquoi said the increase in the prison has created another problem for them because they are being asked to prepare more food for the inmates.
For his part, the Public Defender of Nimba, Attorney Y. Mewaseh Paybayee, said he just returned from the prison and will take up the issue with the judge so that most of the inmates may benefit from jail delivery.
By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne