50 percent of Zimbabwe prisoners died of hunger, disease in last 1 year

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Harare, May 19 (ANI): At least 700 out of the 1300 inmates in Zimbabwe's maximum security jail have died of starvation or disease in the last year. Due to its death rate, Chikurubi prison, located on the outskirts of Harare, has been touted as one of the worst jails in history.

On Sunday alone, six prisoners were found dead in their filthy cell, while the same number died last weekend due to revolting conditions.

Some 100 bodies, many of them mutilated by rats, are stacked up in the prison mortuary. If they are unclaimed, they will be buried as paupers in the prison grounds, The Telegraph reports.

The collapse of Zimbabwe's economy has crippled the prison system, leaving thousands of inmates with scarcely any food. The provision of medical care has also collapsed, leaving prisoners to die of starvation and disease.

Chikurubi packs about 30 inmates into cells designed for only 10, the paper reported.

A jail warder revealed that the mortality rate in other prisons of the country was almost the same.

"It's the same at all the rest of the prisons around the country. We often find six died at a time. A lot have AIDS, but die quickly because they don't have enough food," he said.

Between November and January, 327 deaths were recorded at Chikurubi - almost a quarter of all the inmates.

The commissioner in charge of jails, Major-General Paradzai Zimondi (a close aide of President Robert Mugabe), is blamed for not doing his job properly.

"He has never been to see what is going on in Chikurubi. He doesn't care," the paper quoted the warder, as saying. (ANI)

|Pak Govt. in talks with Taliban for return of Sikhs evicted from Orakzai|World[Kohat{Kohat, May 19 (ANI): The Pakistan Government has started discreet negotiations through religious clerics with the deputy chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for the rehabilitation of Sikh families, evicted from Orakzai Agency.

A high placed source said on Monday, that the tribal administration on the directives of the federal government had assigned the task of holding peace talks with the deputy chief of TTP, Hakeemullah Mehsud.

They would make efforts to pave the way for rehabilitation of Sikh families in the area where they had been living for centuries. The source declined to disclose the names of clerics involved in the talks, and said that meetings were going on peacefully.

He said that the displaced Sikh families were willing to come back. After getting orders for payment of Jazia, the Sikhs had already raised Rs12 million and just requested for one more day to collect the amount.

About 35 Sikh families were forced to leave their permanent abodes in Feroze Khel area of Orakzai Agency after Taliban burnt their houses and looted their shops.

Taliban had imposed Jazia (religious tax) on Sikh community for being non-Muslims living in an Islamic state for the protection of their lives and property.

The community failed to raise Rs15 million by April 29 after which their houses were attacked. But they had left the area before the attack, The Dawn reported.

Thirteen Sikh families were still living in Merozai area of lower Orakzai Agency on the land possessed by Shia community where the TTP had no control.

To a question about the collateral damage caused by the shelling and bombardment on militant hideouts in the area, he said that so far dozens of men, women and children had been killed in such attacks. (ANI)

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