Detainees at Jomba cell ‘eat once a day’

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By DOROTHY MARK
DETAINEES in the Jomba Police Station cells in Madang ate just once a day – at 7pm, according to former detainee Michael Tataki.
He was released on Friday and said Justice David Cannings’ damning report of the treatment of detainees there was a “godsent”.
The report said the cells had four toilets for men, women and juveniles but only one worked and able to be used.
However, Tataki said detainees barely used the toilets as they did not have food.
He was released from the lockup on Friday through an order by the Madang National Court.
“What is there for us to release when some of us don’t eat at all and some don’t eat enough,” he said.
Tataki said the detainees ate at 7pm each day and stayed hungry for the rest of the time.
He said some detainees were bullied over their share of food by other detainees, which meant the weaker ones did not eat for days.
“One detainee told me he didn’t use the toilet for six weeks because there’s nothing to release at the toilet accept urine,” Tataki said.
He said when news reached the detainees that human rights judge Justice Cannings would be sending officers to interview them, the detainees were extremely happy. When they appeared in court on Friday, all 54 were hoping for freedom.
John Angra, apprehended over an alleged drug offence has remained in the cell uncharged since Nov 30.
He said being released was the best gift this Christmas.
“I thought I will remain in the cell and will not see my family this Christmas,” Angra said.
Tataki thanked Justice Cannings on behalf of the detainees released on Friday and Saturday on human rights grounds.

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