1 Dec 2003

Solomon Islands prisons deny solitary confinement claims

2:12 pm on 1 December 2003

Prison authorities in Solomon Islands have denied a claim by an Australian lawyer that high-profile remand prisoners awaiting trial are being held in solitary confinement

Last week, lawyer Garry Scott claimed that high-profile suspects, including his client, former MEF militant commander, Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea, were being held in solitary confinement in Honiara's Rove prison on advice from the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In a letter to Deputy Police Commissioner, Ben McDevitt, Scott expressed concerns for the welfare of those prisoners and claimed that placing them in solitary confinement breached UN principles.

Mr McDevitt rejected the claims saying the Prison Service was responsible for such administrative issues and RAMSI police were in no position to exert pressure on prison authorities.

The Acting Prisons Controller, Francis Haisoma also denied Mr Scott's charges, stating that no prisoners, convicted or on remand are in solitary confinement.

However, Mr Haisoma did say that RAMSI had requested that a number of prisoners should not have association with others prisoners because of concerns about their safety or the safety of others.