12 Mar 2012

New Caledonia inmates to seek compensation

2:06 pm on 12 March 2012

About 100 inmates of New Caledonia's jail will demand compensation from the French state for being held in dreadful conditions.

The lawyer acting for the prisoners, Cecile Moresco, says she has compiled their cases with the help of the International Observatory of Prisons and the territory's Human Rights League.

According to the submissions, the conditions are degrading, with inmates being kept in overcrowded and rat-infested cells for 23 hours a day, and only let out twice for half an hour.

One amputee inmate is said to have been left in his cell for seven months.

Ms Moresco says the administrative court is to examine their case within the next few weeks.

The Camp Est jail was built in the 19th century and suffers from some of the most serious overcrowding of any French-run detention centre.

Last month, the highest court in France rejected a bid by an inmate to be freed from Camp Est because of the substandard conditions.