Riccardi Andrea: on the web

Riccardi Andrea: on social networks

change language
you are in: home - friendsh...the poor - friends
in prison
- freedom ...risoners - the “t... republi
contacting usnewsletterlink

Support the Community

  

The “transitory prisons” of the Democratic Republi


 
printable version

The “transitory prisons” of the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is not just the largest nation in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also, despite the rich bounty of the natural resources it has at its disposal, a place of great suffering: long years of war have produced widespread poverty. The economic restructuring plans imposed by international agencies actually hit hardest at the more vulnerable social strata, among whom those in the country’s prisons must be numbered. Cuts in spending on the judiciary and on penitentiary institutions have merely added to the hardships of the detainees, who are forced to live in truly unimaginable conditions. The organization of Congo’s justice system is nonetheless meticulous: each police station disposes of a “transitory prison” – the so-called “cachot”. In these cells all those guilty of having committed minor offences, or who have otherwise been accused of illegal acts, are shut away.

The system envisages a possible way out of the “cachot” via the payment of a fine, but those who don’t have such sums at their disposal – a sum sometimes quite arbitrarily set – is imprisoned in Kinshasa’s central prison, often without being charged on any actual imputable count. And there, in most cases, they remain – indefinitely, forgotten.

If you are poor, then, you may find yourself shut up for weeks, months, sometimes for years, in an overcrowded prison (the main gaol presently holds 4,300 detainees) maybe just on account of somebody’s suspicions, or for a minor offence.

And here prison means malnutrition, lack of basic hygiene, years lost from your life, a future subject to violence and misery.

But the destinies of these people can be altered through a small act of kindness and solidarity.

Father Simon is a regular visitor to the prisoners in the “cachot” and comes across many tales of poverty and of desperation…which only required a little help to find a solution.

Tales like that of G. and C.: The cause of their quarrel was a truly trivial one – try as they may, they couldn’t manage to explain what their argument had been about. One or two beers too many certainly hadn’t helped them keep level heads, and the insults they directed at the police officer who tried to separate them while they exchanged punches in the street landed them straight in the “transitory prison”.

A 300 euro fine is a prohibitive sum for any young Congolese, let alone an unemployed one, and the two friends were facing an indefinite stay in prison. But it’s not such a difficult amount to muster with a little effort and fellow feeling: the 600 euro collected by the Community allowed the two to return home.

E., a young student, had also been shut away in “transitory prison” for an insult given to a policeman who had stopped him at a check point. He, too, would have been transferred to the central prison had he not found the 400 euro to pay his fine. Prison would have laid waste his existence as a university student, his dream of becoming a doctor, his desire to redeem the lives of others.

Today, E. has returned to his studies, thanks to the 400 euro donation, gathered by the Community, helping him pay his fine and regain his freedom. 

Friends in prisons

Campagna Liberare i
Prigionieri in Africa




Online donations

 ALSO READ
• NEWS
February 3 2017
GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Letter from Goma, Congo: We are the spokesperson of poor and neglected elderly of the outskirts

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR
November 7 2016

When violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT
September 30 2016
BLANTYRE, MALAWI

Thirst for Peace: the public role of young people for peace, dialogue and development

IT | EN | ES | FR | ID
July 2 2016
GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Education is a right for all: the children of the School of Peace of the refugee camp of Mugunga "draw" it

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | HU
September 22 2015
BUKAVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

In the Great Lakes region, wounded by so much violence, Sant'Egidio speaks of peace in the Spirit of Assisi #peaceispossible

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT
March 14 2015
BUKAVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

We defend the elderly from violence and neglect: the "cultural revolution" of the Youth for Peace of Bukavu

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT
all news
• PRESS
January 4 2017
ANSA med

A Napoli presepe dei detenuti dedicato a viaggio migranti

January 2 2017
Vatican Insider

Congo, Sant’Egidio: soddisfazione per l’accordo sulle elezioni

December 26 2016
Ristretti Orizzonti

Genova: i cenoni in trasferta di Sant'Egidio, festa con migranti e detenuti

November 24 2016
Radio Vaticana

Sant'Egidio presenta riforme per umanizzazione delle carceri

November 23 2016
Notizie Italia News

Fatti: Un giovane della periferia africana ci insegna a non essere schiavi del denaro

November 19 2016
RP ONLINE

Amerikanischer Traum endet in der Todeszelle

all press releases
• DOCUMENTS
Comunità di Sant'Egidio

ALCUNI NUMERI DELLA SOLIDARIETA’ NEL 2012 DALLA COMUNITA’ DI SANT’EGIDIO

Comunità di Sant'Egidio

Le carceri in Italia:tra riforma, sovraffollamento e problemi di bilancio. Analisi e proposte delle Comunità di Sant'Egidio

Comunità di Sant'Egidio

Mai così tanti in carcere nella storia dell’Italia Repubblicana

Comunità di Sant'Egidio

CALANO I REATI, MA CRESCONO GLI ARRESTI E LE DETENZIONI

all documents
• BOOKS
all books

PHOTOS

155 visits

145 visits

148 visits

144 visits

121 visits
all the related media