Paulina Quintao – Human Right Association (HAK) Program Advocacy Officer Xisto dos Santos believes the government has committed a violation against the right of prisoners by allowing 100 prisoners to share a single cell block.
He notes that prisoners are imprisoned for what they have done, but as a human being, they also have the right to get adequate incarceration facilities.
"It certainly is a violation because normally a cell block accommodates 50 to 80 prisoners. It is already over that limit, which impacts on the prison's functioning," he said from his office, in Farol, Dili.
He said the two prisons are at over capacity given the delays in the trial process, many prisoners are in preventive detention, and prisoners who have completed their sentence have not been freed yet.
He urged the government to strengthen the judicial service sector to accelerate trials and to conduct prison rehabilitations in the municipalities so they can accommodate more prisoners.
On the other hand, the director of Gleno Prison, in Ermera Municipality, Mito dos Santos said Gleno and Becora prisons are at over capacity but that they continue to make efforts to ensure everyone has adequate quarters.
"The condition of two prisons is that they are at over capacity, but this is the real condition," he said. He said Gleno prison can accommodate 80 prisoners and a maximum of 120 prisoners so there is still space to accommodate another 10 prisoners.
Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that there is a total of 720 prisoners as of May 16, 2018, including 604 prisoners in Becora, 96 prisoners in Gleno and 20 prisoners in Suai with 76% of prisoners will full sentence while 24% are still in preventive detention.