Prison congestion causes stomach, skin diseases
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Inmates of the main prison in southern Kandahar province are suffering from a number of ailments, including skin diseases, due to lack of space, local authorities say.
Col. Ghulam Farooq, in charge of the jail, told Pajhwok Afghan News the prison that was built in the Sarpuza area of the provincial capital 30 years ago did not meet inmates’ needs.
Provincial and central governments had ignored repeated requests for shifting the prison to a proper location, he complained, saying several building had been added to facility but the space problem remained unresolved.
As a result, the official explained, many problems had to be transferred to Kabul. “Recently 750 prisoners were shifted to the capital, but the number of inmates in the provincial facility is still higher than 800.”
Col. Farooq said many suspects were held at the jail as long as their cases were not decided, multiplying the problems of other inmates. Around 400 prisoners lately suffered stomach complications and skin diseases because of congestion.
ICRC and Public Health Department doctors treated the affected prisoners but some of them are still receiving medical care, according to the jail superintendent, who insisted a new spacious building for the prison alone could address the current problems.
Public Health Director Dr. Abdul Qayyum Pukhla said a team of medics had been sent to the prison to treat the ailing inmates, whose condition had considerably improved. He acknowledged the problem resulted from congestion and an unhygienic environment.
On the other hand, prisoners urged the government to pay attention to the problem of inadequate space, something that forced the authorities to keep several inmates in a single dingy room.
Haji Mohammad, who was lately freed after serving a nine-month prison term on the charge of having links with militants, confirmed the difficulties. He claimed many prisoners were faced with health hazards owing to insanitary conditions.
Javed Faisal, the governor’s spokesman, said they were already aware of the jail’s inadequacies. The provincial government was awaiting a response to its requests from the centre, he added. He admitted the present building had limited capacity.
A plot of land has been allocated for a new building and construction work could be launched next year after approval of the budget, he concluded.
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