HRCM is working to misconstrue the truth: Munaz

Commissioner of Prisons, Abdulla Munaz has stated that the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) is attempting to misinterpret the truth regarding prisons during ongoing efforts to improve the condition of prisoners, and jails.

Munaz expressed his concerns over HRCM's order made Tuesday to close the Male' jail Annex remand jail within 48 hours after moving prisoners detained at the facility to safe locations.

A statement released by the HRCM said Correctional Services had been asked to close the remand jail on 11th April after an inspection. While it was informed on 15th April by Correctional Services that the jail had been closed, HRCM found 25 prisoners still detained at the facility when an inspection was conducted on Tuesday.

Revealing that the condition of the prison was worse than it was when inspected earlier, HRCM said the jail had old metal, sacks of cement and aggregate stored at the facility. The cells were covered in thick dust and was unhygienic, said HRCM.

The commission further stated that they made the order to close the jail under the powers assured to the commission by the law, which makes it mandatory for citizens and authorities to follow the orders given by the commission.

Responding to HRCM's statement, Munaz alleged that HRCM is working to misconstrue the truth during ongoing efforts to improve the condition of prisoners, and jails, and questioned HRCM's intentions behind their actions.

Munaz said the 25 prisoners were held at the facility temporarily on the noted date due to due to the dire weather conditions that restricted sea travel. Those detained at the facility had been brought to Male' for medical treatment earlier that day from Maafushi Prison, revealed Munaz. The circumstance was explained to the HRCM staff that inspected the jail on Tuesday, he added.

Munaz stated that while there are no legal restrictions on detaining prisoners at the Male' jail Annex remand jail, they no longer keep prisoners at the location. Munaz said HRCM had previously been made aware that prisoners who are brought to Male' for doctor consultations are detained at the facility until their return back to Maafushi prison is arranged.