Liberia: Prisoners Died of Hunger at Monrovia Central Prison

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Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has been reliably informed that two male prisoners at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) died Thursday, May 16, as a result of hunger.

According to our sources, who can’t be named because of their position within the MCP, notoriously known as “South Beach Prison” because of how cruelly it treated prisoners back in the day, disclosed that one of the dead is named Saah Paul. They could not immediate find the name of the other person but promised to do so.

They said Saah died from room 22 of the Block B wall; while the other prisoner died in the bathroom in either room 12 or 10 from Block E.

Block B, FPA is told, contains 32 very small rooms and each room, which should take at most three prisoners, has twice the number. “Because the rooms are so small, three persons have to lie on the ground while the other three make their beds in the air,” they stated.  

“Mr. Journalist, the two guys died from hunger oh,” one of the sources said as his other friend tried to give other detail pieces of information about life in the maximum prison.

They spoke of how hungry the prisoners go nowadays in the prison. They should be fed at least three times a day but it seems this is no longer the case according to our sources. “There is no food here for them to eat. They only feed the prisoners one time a day. The food used to come in regularly every time by 2 pm. But for the last few weeks, the small, tasteless food they give them, has started to go to them by 5pm,” they narrated about the very appalling condition of the prison.

According to our sources, a very small parcel of gari (farina), which is sold outside the prison walls for L$10 is sold for L$50 and a sachet of water is sold for L$20.

Another of our sources stated that if one wants to eat a little tasted sauce, they would have to buy a very small quantity from those in the kitchen, who tie the sauce in tin polythene (plastic) bags.

“My brother, they can sell it to them for L$100. So, if you don’t have money to buy it, you just have to eat the tasteless, soft rice that they serve generally to everyone one time daily.”

When FPA contacted the Director of Prison, Edwin McGill, at the Ministry of Justice, which has oversight over the MCP, he stated that he has not been briefed about alleged death of the two prisoners. He also said he has just returned from Southeast and was now in Bomi County; he has not heard about any death in the prison so couldn’t speak further.

Prisons’ Share in National Budget

In the Ministry of Justice’s budget for fiscal year 2018 and 2019, US$363,559 has been allocated for all 15 or 16 main prisons in the country. The amount is from the ministry’s US$34,030,385 budget for its 10 policy areas or departments.

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