The independent Ombudsman Office visits the Reform and Rehabilitation Center in Jaw, makes sure of the living conditions of inmates and confirms that there are no cases of forced disappearance or deprivation of calls

May 10, 2021

The Independent Ombudsman Office announced that, as part of its continuous efforts and work to follow up the conditions of inmates at the Reform and Rehabilitation Center in Jaw, and to complement its response to assistance requests it received from the families of some inmates, and to ensure what is really happening in the Center is clear to the public, the concerned authorities and stakeholders, a team From the Directorate of Monitoring Rehabilitation and Detention Centers in the Independent Ombudsman Office made an unannounced "surprise" visit yesterday evening, Sunday May 9, 2021 to the Reform and Rehabilitation Center 2021,mainly targeted in its visit the building where the inmates who previously rioted on 17th April 2021 are present, where also the Public Prosecution is still conducting its investigations including "closing the corridors, their refusal to enter the wards and their violation of the instructions issued in this regard, which led to their disruption of services provided, including communications and health care for other inmates.

The Independent Ombudsman team arrived at the building around nine o'clock in the evening and wandered in it independently without being accompanied with any of security personnel or administrative staff. The team checked up  the corridors, the wards, and the rooms, the team also checked on up the inmates’ movements, their normal activities, and the services provided to them. The team also interviewed some inmates who were in front of and inside the cells, and in corridors as they were going to the yard to spend a period of exercise according to the organized timing schedule set for the inmates to go to that yard. In addition, the team inspected the communication rooms and saw inmates calling their families by phone accompanied by the inmate responsible for coordinating communications inside the building.

The team while roaming inside the building, followed the professional measures approved by the Independent Ombudsman Office which include many specific procedures, including: interviewing inmates, direct observation of the place, examining  administrative documents in the place, reviewing the taking of notes, ensuring the procedures of CCTV is subject to what is stated in the Law of Reform and Rehabilitation Institution and its implementing regulation and other inspection mechanisms applied in such visits. The Independent Ombudsman team found that the living conditions of the inmates in the targeted building  are normal and that they are receiving their living rights in the place, just as all inmates in other buildings are. Regarding the issue of contacts, some of these inmates had previously voluntarily abstained from contacting their families, but they gradually returned to contact. It turns out that all these inmates can actually make contact with their families and relatives, therefore there is no truth to any allegations regarding the enforced disappearance of any inmate in the Center, as the whereabouts of each of them is known and clear with respect to the other inmates themselves and their families and relatives. In this context, the Independent Ombudsman Office’s investigation on the issue of inmates making calls comes to complement its role in following up on the assistance requests received from families of some inmates in this regard. These requests, which during the past three weeks reached 222 assistance requests were confirmed to be responded where inmates are able to make contact with their families.

In the framework of its keenness to provide more messages to reassure the families of inmates on their conditions, the Independent Ombudsman team documented this visit with visual recordings through CCTV clips which show their positive interaction with inmates in the place and directly check the services provided to them and see their livelihood in the place. This includes observing their exit to the outdoor area for exercise according to their rights stipulated in the law.

In conclusion, the Independent Ombudsman Office affirms that it deals with assistance requests received regarding inmates and allegations raised in their regard by some international human rights organizations and on the information network and social media sites and deals with that in a professional standard.