• Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
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HC wants report on how prisons are handling the coronavirus crisis

  • Published at 03:25 pm June 2nd, 2020
the Jail
File photo of a prison cell Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Prison authorities are responsible for ensuring health and security of prisoners

The High Court has asked for a report on the situation in prisons across the country amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim issued the order after a virtual hearing on Tuesday.

The court asked a state lawyer to collect the information from jail authorities and provide it to the court on June 15.

The High Court also asked the petitioner to monitor the situation of prisons through media reports during the crisis.

Advocate Mohammad Shishir Manir stood for the petitioner while Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder represented the state.

Advocate Shishir Manir filed the writ with the High Court’s bench on May 17, seeking directives for concerned authorities so that they take necessary measures to protect prisoners and prison staff from coronavirus.

He said that the country’s 68 prisons only have capacity to hold 41,244 prisoners, but there are reportedly holding around 74,000 prisoners in total. 23 prison guards and two inmates have tested positive for coronavirus thus far. Only one death caused by Covid-19 has been reported so far in prisons - a prisoner in Sylhet Central Jail.

Prison authorities are responsible for ensuring health and security of prisoners, said the petitioner.

Earlier, on May 14, the lawyer sent a legal notice to concerned authorities to ensure the safety of inmates and prison staff from coronavirus infection. He also asked for information on measures and preparedness that have been taken to address the coronavirus situation.  But the authorities failed to respond to that legal notice.