Monday, April 12, 2010

Malawi Prisoner Steven Monjeza is Seriously ill

Malawi prisoner Steven Monjeza is seriously ill

Not getting medical treatment

Needs urgent hospital care

Please lobby Malawi government now

London - 12 April 2010

"Steven Monjeza is seriously ill in the notorious Chichiri Prison in Blantyre, Malawi. He has been held on remand in an overcrowded, fetid call for over three months, without proper food, sanitation or medical care," reports London-based human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

Together with his partner, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, Mr Monjeza is on trial on charges of homosexuality.

Mr Tatchell has been sent an urgent appeal from inside the prison, requesting help for Mr Monjeza.

"According to eye-witnesses in the prison, Steven has been vomiting, coughing and suffering from pain and pressure in his chest for 11 days. He looks very ill and has lost weight. People who have seen him fear for his health," said Mr Tatchell.

"The prison authorities have failed to give Steven proper treatment, or even sufficient pain-killers. His pain-killers ran out on 10 April.

"My informant says Mr Monjeza urgently needs to go to hospital for a full medical examination and treatment. His health is likely to deteriorate further unless he gets swift medical care.

"Mr Monjeza is being held in a cell with a dozen other men. There is not enough space to sleep comfortably. Chichiri prison was built for 800 prisoners. It currently holds around 2,000 inmates. All are suffering.

"Toilet and shower facilities are deficient. Mr Monjeza receives only two meals a day. It is always the same maize porridge with beans, which has low nutritional value.

"Steven and Tiwonge are being held on remand. They have not been convicted of any offence. Yet they are being treated like criminals and imprisoned with hardened felons convicted of serious crimes.

"Requests by Mr Monjeza and Mr Chimbalanga for bail have been turned down, even though people convicted of violent assaults, even murder, have been previously granted bail. It looks like they are being singled out for special victimisation.

"We ask you to lobby the Malawian Ambassador in your country. Ask him or her to press the government of Malawi to transfer Mr Monjeza to hospital and provide him with medical treatment. Thank you," said Mr Tatchell.

See background to the case and details of the London protest in support of Steven and Tiwonge here:

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