6 January 2020

Detained for 10 years for no reason

Makala, which means “coal” in Lingala, is the central prison of Kinshasa. It is also one of Africa’s main penitentiaries: there are around 8,500 inmates in a complex of pavilions and brick and metal shacks, initially designed to accommodate 1,500 people. It is a small town, an ecosystem, where all can be valued, exchanged, and negotiated down to the floor space to sleep on. Some cells of 100 m2 house 200 inmates, many of whom sleep on the floor. They are underfed and have serious problems of malnutrition. The beatings and the ill-treatments can sometimes lead to death. The extreme overcrowding and the insecurity inevitably create conflicts which will only be handled with violence.

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22 January 2020




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