Friday, June 25, 2004

Prison abuse outrage hypocritical: Burnside

A prominent human rights lawyer has accused the Howard Government of hypocrisy in expressing outrage over the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail.

Julian Burnside, QC, told a public meeting in Canberra there are plenty of instances of people in detention in Australia, who have been treated in a way that amounts to torture.

He has cited strip and cavity searches and the prolonged use of solitary confinement as examples.

Mr Burnside says members of the Government should not criticise others for treating prisoners badly when such conditions exist in Australia.

"I think that the Prime Minister and other members of the Liberal Government, or the Liberal Coalition Government, are hypocrites," he said.

Abu Ghraib, USA

In Iraq, the Red Cross evaluated people who had been subjected to solitary confinement, and the organization discovered indications of psychological damage. The group's medical delegate said Iraqi prisoners were "presenting signs of concentration difficulties, memory problems, verbal expression difficulties, incoherent speech, acute anxiety reactions, abnormal behavior, and suicidal tendencies. These symptoms appeared to have been caused by the methods and duration of interrogation."

It was interesting that the International Red Cross was upset that prisoners were held more than thirty days in isolation and for twenty-three out of twenty-four hours," says Garvey. "In Boscobel, that's the case every day. In the standards of the International Red Cross," the prison at Boscobel is "out of compliance with the Geneva Convention, which doesn't apply as such, but it gives you a measuring stick."

By Just Us 25 June 04


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The world was shocked by the images of Abu Ghraib prisoner torture. But around the world the prisoner community knows that worse happens every day.

Carr's Castle the real story H.R.M.U.The High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre The Australian Institute of Criminology's Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia - 1996 just don't cover the Goulburn HRMU according to Mr Ron Woodham Commissioner of Corrective Services. The High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) is the centrepiece of a major $22M redevelopment of Goulburn Correctional Centre.

Letter from the mother of a prisoner on remand at the High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see S. I have enclosed a copy of S's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn. Letter from the prisoner to his mother.

We the prisoners at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre would like to ask you for help in receiving equal treatment and opportunities as other prisoners throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation unit but we are treated as though we are in one.