By William Madouk
At least two remand inmates have reportedly passed away in Juba Central Prison without getting even their single day in court for a fair trial.
Mr. Nicola Nyieth Kon, an inmate, speaking on behalf of the rest, revealed that the two were held in custody awaiting trial which delayed for too long until they died before getting justice.
Mr. Kon identified one of the deceased inmates as Emmanuel Sule, who was charged with stealing goats under Section 293 of the Panel Code.
He added that late Sule was remanded in the prison for almost seven months until he fell sick and died.
According to the inmate, when Sule’s sickness was reported to the responsible authorities, they refused to let him be taken to the hospital until the deceased inmate breathed his last.
“He was taken on June 12, 2023, and now he is dead,” Kon said on Thursday.
Mr. Kon, who was bitter about delayed trials, said another prisoner, identified as Moses Abraham John, was supposed to be charged with stealing a lumbering machine worth SSP 300,000, also died in jail.
According to him, the late Moses spent two years without being produced before court, until his demise due to illness.
“He stayed in prison for 2 years; when he became sick, he was taken to the hospital but unfortunately died there,” Kon lamented.
Inmate Kon noted that an investigator responsible for late Moses’ file failed to report the death to the bereaved family, which did even receive the corpse.
He said inmates, instead contributed money to pay the mortuary bill and give a decent burial their deceased colleague.
“Every remand contributed SSP 1,000 from their pocket money for our brother,” he added.
He argued that those who are currently in prison cells are not criminals because they are poor and can’t afford to bribe prosecutors and interrogators, adding that the real criminals are outside.
“We have laws, and nobody is above the law, but our laws nowadays are in our hands and pockets,” he continued.
Kon also complained that one remand inmate is in the prison ward for owing the accuser SSP 30,000; in the process, he was forgiven by the accuser, but an investigator kept him in detention till he paid him SSP 50,000.
“Somebody who can’t pay SSP 30,000, where will he get SSP 50,000?” he queried.
He added that some prisoners are still lockup because investigators ask them to pay bribes which they cannot afford.