Sisters pastoral visits to Aitape Police Jail
Justice Contact for Papua New Guinea, Sr Imelda Suyai shares the story of the Sisters Pastoral visits to Aitape Police Jail.
I was asked to take up this role as a Justice Contact person in July this year. This is my first time in this role and whilst I feel challenged I will try my best to do what I can do.
One story that I want to share with you is the condition in the jail at the Aitape Police Station.
We started our visits to the Aitape Police Station Cell in the beginning of June this year. It is just one small room in the Police Station. It holds up to 10 people but sometimes if the police are doing their patrols the number can to go up to 20 or even 30. For a minor case sometimes the men can be bailed out by their families but for serious cases they are kept in there until their court case is heard. If they were found guilty they are sent to Vanimo or Wewak for their imprisonment.
In this one cell the men/boys sleep on the cement floor but if over-crowded there is not enough room for them to do this so have to stand up or squat all night.
The shower and toilet is in this room and the room becomes very smelly. If their toilet is blocked they are forced to clean it themselves. Sr Elizabeth Sep has been talking to the policemen about this situation.
The men are given one meal a day and it is made available to them only at 10.00 in the evening. Sometimes local family members will bring food for one of the men and they share this.
When we visit the cell every day we take drinking water for the men. We think there is a need to put up a tank at the Police Station for water to drink, for their shower and the toilet. We are in the process of following up with the local Health inspector about the conditions at the police cell.
What we do also during our visit to the cell is pray with the men. If they need confession the Sisters arrange for the priest to visit. The men share with the Sisters the reason why they are there so listening to them is very important. It was very touching for us when we go there to visit and share with them.