The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has praised the Zambia Prisons Services for transferring 600 inmates from Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe district to the newly constructed prison in Mwembeshi in Lusaka Province.
And the Human Rights Commission has expressed disappointment with the manner in which the Zambia Police acted in quelling disturbances at the University of Zambia (UNZA) where some students had blocked the Great East Road as a way of pressing the Bursaries Committee to release their project allowances.
Spokesperson Samuel Kasankha said the commission was delighted with the transfer of the 600 inmates because this was a part fulfillment of the long held plea for decongesting prisons.
Mr. Kasankha said the transfer of some prisoners will help in keeping inmates under more humane conditions.
He further said the commission was happy with all efforts that were aimed at decongesting prisons countrywide.
He said this in a press statement released to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in Lusaka today.
Mr. Kasankha however said the Human Rights Commission currently has no details about the reported transfer of prisoners and it has not consulted with the relevant authorities on the matter.
He has promised to issue a more comprehensive reaction once these consultations have been concluded.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kasankha said the Commission was disappointed with the manner the police acted to quell disturbances at the University of Zambia where some students had blocked the Great East Road as a way of pressing the Bursaries Committee to release their project allowances.
Mr. Kasankha said although the Commission condemns students who were involved for reverting to the much maligned method of inconveniencing innocent road users to make known their grievances, it was concerned with the regularity with which police allegedly become reckless and excited when called upon to maintain law and order.
“It is a fact that only a small number of students were involved in the blocking of the road and there was therefore no need for police to throw teargas canisters into rooms where the majority of innocent students were either studying in preparation for exams which were in progress, or resting,” he said.
He therefore advised that the police should always exercise caution and bear in mind that they deal with human beings whose right to be presumed innocent till proven guilty must be preserved.