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Monday, 5 February, 2001, 16:05 GMT
Rwanda's prisons 'at breaking point'
Archive photo of Rwandan prisoners
Rwanda's prisons are overcrowded says the report
A human rights group in Rwanda has published a damning criticism of prisons in the central African country.

The report, by the group Liprodhor, highlights the continuing disappearance of people within the Rwandan prison system.

It also criticises chronic overcrowding in detention centres, which has led to inmates dying of suffocation, and the practice of housing men and women in the same facility.

Kibungo prison - in the west of the country - was singled out for particular criticism; the jail has no running water and Liprodhor says this has led inmates to eat off plates they have previously used for defecation.

Researcher Theobarde Rutihunde told the BBC that the plight of Kibungo's 100 women detainees among the 13,000 prison population was of particular concern.

"For them it is like they have been imprisoned twice," he said.

"Their prison has been built inside the male prison and the food coming in from their families doesn't usually reach them."

The group also says that many people are still being arbitrarily arrested by the military and judicial authorities, leading to further overcrowding of a prison system stretched to breaking point by the huge number of people suspected of taking part in the country's genocide in 1994.

Hate radio trial

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has resumed hearing the cases of three Rwandan journalists accused of conspiracy and incitement to commit genocide.

The three are alleged to have used the media to encourage people to kill Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

They are: Ferdinand Nahimana, who was director of the hate radio station, Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM).

Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former government official and co-founder of the radio station.

And Hassan Ngeze, the editor of the Kangura newspaper.

Up to three-quarters of a million people died in 100 days of slaughter, most of them hacked to death by neighbours with whom they had lived side by side for years.

Last year, another journalist, Georges Ruggiu, who also worked for the RTLM radio station, pleaded guilty to similar charges.

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See also:

19 Oct 00 | Africa
Rwanda's healing process
05 Jul 00 | Africa
UN general's Rwandan nightmares
19 Sep 00 | Africa
Blow for Rwandan journalists
17 Jul 00 | Africa
Rwanda counts its dead
16 Dec 99 | Africa
UN admits failure in Rwanda
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