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Interior Minister Said Yankuba Touray and Others Were Never Placed In Solitary Confinement

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Seyaka Sonko The Minister Of Interior 

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The Minister for Interior, Honorable Seyaka Sonko  informed the National Assembly that neither Yankuba Touray nor any others were subjected to solitary confinement, addressing concerns raised during a session on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Responding to questions from Nominated Member Fatoumatta K Jawara about the circumstances surrounding the transfer of Yankuba Touray and others from the main prison yard, Minister Sonko emphasized that they were not kept in solitary confinement. 

“I have informed this August Assembly that Yankuba Touray and others were never in solitary confinement at the Prion. They were in a very open cell, but an incident happened at the prison that led to the stabbing of one convicted prisoner at the main yard by another convicted prisoner. It was based on this fact that the prison authority deemed it necessary to transfer them to a safer prison,” he said.

He further explained that an inspection was conducted after the incident, leading to the recommendation that high-profile prisoners be kept in a secure location for their safety. This decision resulted in the relocation of Yankuba Touray and others to a more secure place.

“if it’s solitary it will be an individual cell, but this is a combined cell where they are properly kept so that their safety is assured they are not in solitary confinement,” he said.

In her supplementary question Hon Jawara said the prison officers who were on guard on that particular day need to be suspended or a thorough investigation needs to be carried out to know who is responsible. 

“we visited the prisons we went right inside and saw how they are in the main yard all the prisoners are left to go out in the open yard and on this day this particular person is suspected to have a mental health issue grab a piece of metal they said it’s a screwdriver and he stab his colleague,”the minister said. 

Hon. Jawara also suggested transferring mentally challenged inmates to a psychiatric unit for proper care, drawing from her own experience during detention.

Minister Sonko assured that they would consider the recommendation, noting that mentally challenged individuals are sometimes kept in prison but may be transferred to facilities like Tanka Tanka for evaluation and brought back to prison if deemed stable and their imprisonment term has not ended.

In response to a question from Hon. Lamin Ceesay regarding inmate access to weapons, Minister Sonko mentioned that workmen occasionally leave tools around, allowing inmates to gain access, as was the case with a screwdriver used in the mentioned incident.

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