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Rwandan prison official apprehended for calling for humanitarian assistance

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Chief Superintendent of Prison, Innocent Iyaburunga has been arrested for calling for humanitarian assistance for detainees facing nutritious food shortage amid the COVID-19 lockdown, a judicial source has revealed.

The arrest of the senior prison officer at Gicumbi, a district in northern Rwanda, comes after the Catholic parish in Byumba Diocese raised an alarm on food shortage in prisons. The parish called on charities to provide food assistance to prisoners in emergency situations, according to reports on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.

Reports by Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) indicate that the East African country spends about two dollars a day to feed each of about 74 000 prisoners, and officials say they have had no problems providing meals during the COVID pandemic.

Since 2008, the Rwandan Government announced a new rule which bans persons from bringing food for prisoners. However, pregnant or nursing mothers, and persons who are ill and to whom particular diets have been prescribed by a doctor, will be exempted from the new rule.

Following new lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, following the outbreak in mid-March this year, the Rwanda Correctional Services indefinitely suspended prison visits to control the spread of COVID-19.

Rwanda currently has 13 prisons with a population of about 74 000 inmates. The Rwanda Correctional Services says that all persons who visit inmates will have to observe hygienic measures, including hand-washing and avoiding handshakes.

-APA

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