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UN group concerned about detention conditions in South Africa

[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] reported Monday that pre-trial detention conditions in South Africa "fall short of international guarantees." The report comes after a two-week trip [press release] in which group members interviewed detainees in several detention centers in the cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Musina, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. Among the group's concerns were evidence that despite overcrowding in pre-trial detention facilities, bail is usually either denied or so high that it is not an option. The working group also denounced the policy of forcing alleged juvenile offenders to await trial in the same cells as adults and often in maximum-security jails. The group did acknowledge that the government of South Africa had been cooperative, and commended work being done in the area of human rights. A final report with recommendations will be presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights [official website] next year. SAPA has more.

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