The Mauritanian Human Rights Watch visited the Central Prison of Nouakchott to enquire about the situation of the prisoners and detainees. We spoke to two prisoners: Messrs. Ahmed O. Hadrami and Mohamed Lemine O. Mbale. They said that, despite some improvement in the conditions of their incarceration, after the detention of guards (by inmates??), there is much improvement that needs to be made.
Considering that a prison is primarily supposed to be a place of social rehabilitation and individual penitence, it is worth noting that the Central Prison of NKCTT does not offer an adequate environment for the social rehabilitation of convicted criminals or offenders. On the contrary, it is, by any means, an unhealthy environment that breeds criminality and thuggery. It is no secret anymore that it has become, over the years, a deleterious milieu infested with drugs and even sexual abuse.
The cells are overpopulated and lack basic hygiene. And prisoners don’t have the most rudimentary healthcare and are not properly fed. Underage minors and adults prisoners, prisoners of opinion and criminal offenders are all incarcerated in the same cells; without distinction as to age or the type of infraction committed.
Mr. Ahmed O. Hadrami is a case in point that illustrates the level of anarchy and neglect in the prison system. This inmate has been suffering for months from a form of leukemia and he has medical evidence of this condition from health professionals, as well as a certificate from the prison administration itself, that his health situation requires an evacuation to an external health facility.
For these reasons the Mauritanian Human rights Watch (MHRW hereafter) demands that the Mauritanian government
• Makes sure that the personnel in charge of the prison system in the Ministry of Justice does its job properly and transmits the legitimate demands of the detainees with respect to their basic needs (in terms of training, nutrition, medical care, family visits, etc.) to the authorities in charge.
• Satisfies immediately the demand of the prisoner Mr. Ahmed O. Hadrami to get the urgent medical care he so desperately needs, and allows prisoners, in similar cases, to get the medical care they need and also to which they are legally entitled in accordance with Mauritanian laws and regulations.
• Opens a dialog with Salafi detainees so as to enable their social rehabilitation and deter the youth from joining the ranks of extremists.
• Allows Human Rights organizations and members of civil society to do their work freely without hindrance.