On May 27, 2016, Amnesty International reported that the South Sudan was using repurposed shipping containers to house prisoners at a detention site in Gorom. Amnesty’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki, warned that detainees were ” suffering in appalling conditions and their overall treatment is nothing short of torture.”
The human rights organization said the prisoners were fed sparingly – only once or twice a week – and not given enough clean drinking water. Further, the shipping containers were poorly ventilated; in October 2015, more than 50 people died from asphyxiation after being locked inside one of the makeshift cells.
Amnesty International was able to obtain evidence of the horrific conditions after procuring a satellite image of the site which showed four shipping containers surrounded by two fences. The organization said most of the detainees were civilians accused of having ties to a rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). While the prisoners were not charged with any crimes, they had no access to visitors, including family members or attorneys.
“All detainees should be released or charged and brought before independent courts. Civilian detainees should only be held in civilian detention facilities and tried by civilian courts,” Wanyeki stated. Major-General Marial Nour, Director of Military Intelligence for the South Sudan, did not comment on the Amnesty report.
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