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Nigeria prisons 'systematically' violating human rights: Amnesty

[JURIST] The human rights of inmates in Nigerian prisons are "systematically violated," Amnesty International [advocacy website] said in a Tuesday report [PDF text; press release] based on visits to 10 prisons across Nigeria over the last six months. According to the report:

Approximately 65 percent of the inmates are awaiting trial, most of whom have been waiting for their trial for years. Most of the people in Nigeria's prisons are too poor to pay lawyers and only one in seven of those awaiting trial have private legal representation. Although government legal aid exists, there are too few legal aid lawyers for all the cases that require representation.

Living conditions in the prisons are appalling. They are damaging to the physical and mental well-being of inmates and in many cases constitute clear threats to health. Conditions such as over-crowding, poor sanitation, lack of food and medicines, and denial of contact with families and friends fall short of UN standards for the treatment of prisoners. ...
Amnesty criticized the Nigerian government for repeatedly failing to address "blatant and egregious" abuses within the system despite repeated promises of reforms. AP has more.

Last year, Amnesty accused Nigeria [JURIST news archive] of secretly carrying out at least seven state executions [JURIST report] in recent years despite official denials. The executed men, who were all hanged, were generally tried without representation and not given any opportunity to appeal their convictions.

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