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Ex-prisoners sue State over prison conditions

Published: 
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Two Moruga brothers, who spent three years in prison awaiting trial on a murder charge, are suing the state for the inhumane and deplorable conditions they were subjected to during their incarceration.

Antares Khan, 24, and Kendelle Khan, 29, both farmers, claim their constitutional rights have been violated as they were subjected to, among other things, cruel and unusual treatment at Golden Grove Remand Prison in Arima.

Describing the conditions as contrary to the dignity of any human being, the men said they were placed in cells which were small, overcrowded, cramped and infested with cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, rats and ants.

The cell had debris and smelt of stale urine, vomit, old rubbish and faeces, they said.

The brothers also complained the cell lacked lighting, ventilation, sleeping facilities and running water. 

They said they used a bucket as a toilet and they were provided with inadequate, poorly-prepared meals, sometimes the fish would be rotten.

They claimed the drinking water was not fit for human consumption and they were exposed to contagious illness and diseases from other cellmates. 

Additionally, the men are claiming they were exposed to the risk of being beaten, sodomised and sexually abused by other prisoners and prison staff; limited airing time and received sub-standard medical care and treatment. 

Antares, in his affidavit, said: “I was always worried, frustrated and grieving to go home from this place I would describe as hell. I never imaged a place with such disgusting smells and sights existed.”

His brother, in his affidavit, added: “While in prison I was exposed to various illnesses and diseases and fell ill during detention as I was diagnosed with chicken pox, the common cold, chest infection, kidney stones, rashes, lota, athletes foot and ringworm. 

“I was even in contact with prisoners who are carriers of diseases, such as tuberculosis and Aids.”

Both brothers were charged on February 16, 2012 with the murder of Marcus Cooper.

However, the charge was dismissed in May 2015 after a preliminary inquiry revealed there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

Although the State is aware of the conditions, the brothers said they have failed to address them. 

“The State has been aware of these conditions of detention for remand prisoners but has thus far failed and/or refused to make sufficient improvements to rectify the deficiencies and remedy the reach of the fundamental human rights of prisoners not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment,” they said.

The brothers are being represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, attorney Kent Samlal, Sean Sobers, Jayanti Lutchmedial, Alvin Pariag and Alana Rambaran.

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