Oluno Inmates Allege Ill-Treatment

THE Oluno prison facility in Ondangwa is reportedly dirty and overcrowded, while the inmates are allegedly subjected to gruesome and filthy living conditions.

One of the inmates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Namibian that they are being held in tick-infested cells with no working toilets, lights and running water.

“The toilets are not functioning and the water remains closed for the whole day. The officers only open the water taps at 06h00 am and close them until 19h00 pm. For the whole day, those tiny cells smell like sewage,” said the anonymous inmate, adding that one cell is usually shared by more than 10 people.

The inmate further said some sick inmates are denied medical care, while the unhygienic conditions breed tuberculosis and chicken pox.

“People who are sick with chicken pox or other contagious illnesses are not kept in separate cells to avoid further infections. We are also not supplied with soap to wash our bedding and our clothes. We rely on our relatives to bring us soap. We are suffering a lot in here,” he said.

The rehabilitation at the facility is also said to have declined because the warders allegedly do not care.

When The Namibian visited the facility, many of the inmates’ beds appeared to be little more than rags and thin mattresses. A single bed that is meant for one person is mostly shared by two people.

Many of the showers are blocked and the cells are filthy, unlike outside where the inmates said they are forced to clean everyday in case top officials visit the facility.

The bullying and assaults at Oluno prison are also said to be a regular feature, with the inmates alleging that they are disallowed to complain or else face torture.

“It is true that we were found guilty of what we did in the past but these people are mistreating us. If you complain, you will be beaten. This place is not like other prisons in Namibia. We need help. This prison needs to be inspected by our top leaders,” said another inmate, who also opted for anonymity.

“If you ask for permission to go out, they will not allow you. Sometimes we want to go out and open assault cases but it is very hard because we are not allowed to. I feel horrible,” the second inmate said.

The head of Oluno prison, Bernhard Rooinasie, declined to comment, saying that he is not aware of the complaints as there was nothing reported to his office by the inmates or the warders.

Oluno prison is notorious for overcrowding as it caters for convicts from Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati, and Ohangwena.

Source : The Namibian