Support us



Fighting against Pre-trial Detention

Pre-trial detention means imprisoning someone before a final judgement has been pronounced following a trial.  It runs counter to the presumption of innocence and is considered to be wrongful when the rules governing such custody are infringed. On the basis of their visits to those whom justice has "forgotten", the ACATs which are partners in this project, along with FIACAT, decided in 2014 to campaign against this phenomenon of wrongful detention, a practice which contributes to prison overcrowding, has an impact on conditions under which inmates are held and has socio-economic repercussions for them and their families and friends.

FIACAT and the ACAT partners are aiming to reduce prison overcrowding by training staff in the judicial and prison systems and civil society. During prison visits, the ACATs identify cases of abusive pre-trial detention. These files are followed up by lawyers providing legal support to ACAT members in the field, until those awaiting trial are provisionally or finally released.

FIACAT and the ACATs work with the authorities to implement the recommendations of regional and international organisations and raise public awareness of detainees' rights.

 

dpa illustration en

 

Projects per country

 

BENIN

Project date: 1/9/2014 – 15/07/15

Target prisons: Porto-Novo, Lokossa, Abomey-Calavi

On 1/9/2014, prison overcrowding was running at 203.71% in civil prisons in Benin. Prisoners in pre-trial detention accounted for an average of 65% of the prison population, and as much as 85% in some of the prisons covered. Porto-Novo, for example, had 867 inmates, 484 of them awaiting trial (55%), for a design capacity of 250. Lokossa housed 577 inmates, 393 of them awaiting trial (68%), for a capacity of 200.

47 persons received instruction on legal safeguards (officials of the judicial and prison administrations and members of civil society).

On 10 September 2015, 49 cases of abusive pre-trial detention were identified and 38 inmates awaiting trial were released provisionally or finally.

This project received support from the United Nations OPCAT Special Fund, the Federal Republic of Germany and Tavola-Valdese.

COTE D’IVOIRE

Project date: 1 November 2014 onwards

Target prisons: Abengourou, Abidjan, Adzopé, Agboville, Bouaké, Daloa, Grand Bassam, Sassandra, Soubré, Toumodi.

This project is being financed with backing from the European Union delegation in Côte d’Ivoire, the Federal Republic of Germany, Tavola-Valdese, the Paris Bar Foundation and the ACAT network.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Project date: 21/2/2017 onwards

Target prisons: Brazzaville and Pointe Noire

As of 1 June 2017, Brazzaville prison was holding a total of 921 inmates, 805 of them on pre-trial detention, i.e. 82% of the prison population, and Pointe-Noire prison had a total of 366 inmates, 299 of whom, i.e. 76% of the total, were on pre-trial detention.

45 persons have received instruction on legal safeguards (officials of the judicial and prison administrations and members of civil society).

This project is being supported by the Agence française de développement, Tavola-Valdese and the International Organisation of La Francophonie.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Project date: 1/11/2015 onwards

Target prisons: Centre pénitentiaire de rééducation de Kinshasa, known as Makala

On 15 December 2016, Makala's population exceeded design capacity by 450%, i.e. it was housing 7 600 prisoners, although it was built for 1 500. Here, pre-trial detention prisoners made up almost 75% of the population.

39 persons have received instruction on legal safeguards (officials of the judicial and prison administrations and members of civil society).

On 17 February 2017, 1 246 cases of abusive pre-trial detention were identified, 861 detainees were provisionally released (i.e. 69% of cases supported by assisting lawyers) and 385 files of those held on pre-trial detention were brought to court. Currently, 400 other files are being processed by lawyers assisting with the project.

This project is being supported by the ACAT France Foundation, Tavola-Valdese, MONUSCO, the ACAT network and the Paris Bar Foundation .

MADAGASCAR

Project date: 21/2/2017 onwards

Target prison: Antanimora (Antananarivo)

At the Maison centrale d’Antanimora, the prison covered by this project, there were 3 297 detainees on 30 June 2017, 1 649 of them, almost 50%, on pre-trial detention.

39 members of civil society and officials of the judicial and prison administrations have received instruction on legal safeguards relating to remand.

This project is being financed by the Agence française de développement.