18 Oct 2004

Fiji call to close Suva prison

4:22 pm on 18 October 2004

The Director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission says Suva Prison should no longer be used.

Shaista Shameem's comments come after a High Court Judge condemned conditions of the remand cells saying they were unbearable and did not meet United Nations standards.

Ms Shameem says some of the cells hold three people at a time with only a bucket for inmates to perform toiletry duties.

She says there is also little ventilation and light and the cells are very damp.

Ms Shameem says the prison building has already been condemned by three independent reports including a recent Labour Department survey.

"It's crumbling, the plasterwork is coming down in just about all the cells and in all areas of the building. I think that really prisoners should not be kept there at all. It needs thorough renovation."

Shaista Shameem from the Fiji Human Rights Commission.