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Torture remains rampant in sub-Saharan Africa, Amnesty International declares

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/13/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Inhuman acts conducted against men, women and children there on a daily basis

Life goes on in sub-Saharan Africa - as it would during medieval times. The torture of prisoners in these countries continue to be applied with impunity. Such atrocities as fingernail yanking, rape and electrical shocks continue to be employed there against men, women and children - with impunity, according to Amnesty International. 

In Kenya, 58 percent of the respondents to a poll on torture, said they were afraid of being tortured if taken into custody.

In Kenya, 58 percent of the respondents to a poll on torture, said they were afraid of being tortured if taken into custody.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Torture, Africa, Amnesty International


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Among the countries currently on the African continent, only 10 out of 54 countries have adopted national laws banning it, Amnesty International says.

The human rights agency has evidence of torture conducted by prison, police and army officers. Torture is regularly practiced in at least 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

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Torture, the group says is being routinely used as a means of extracting "confessions" in prisons and detention centers. Prisoners have reportedly been suspended from ceilings, bound in painful positions and sexually abused.

"African governments have yet to acknowledge the problem, let alone begin to rectify it," Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's research and advocacy director for Africa says. "The lack of strong national laws prohibiting torture in the majority of African countries allows torture not just to survive - but to thrive."

Globally, Amnesty International has evidence of torture in 79 out of the 155 states that have ratified a 1984 U.N. Convention against Torture. 

All but South Sudan has ratified the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, which outlaws torture. However, only 10 countries have made it a criminal offence: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Senegal and Tunisia.

Torture practiced in Sudan include the use of amputation as a punishment. Three men had their right hands cut off after being found guilty in April of last year of stealing cooking oil.

Inmates at Mangaung high-security prison in South Africa have accused the authorities of using electric shocks and beatings on them.

In Kenya, 58 percent of the respondents to a poll on torture, said they were afraid of being tortured if taken into custody.

There have also been reports in Nigeria where there were reports of detainees being starved, shot, forced to sit on sharp objects and held in stress positions.

Reports of torture have grown in the West African country, Amnesty says, since Nigerian security forces stepped up operations against Islamist group, Boko Haram, reviled internationally for its abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls last month.

"Torture is never justified. It is illegal. It is barbaric. It is inhumane," Amnesty said.

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