Naked Prisoners in Philippine Jail Cause Uproar

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MANILA: 

Photos showing hundreds of prisoners in a Philippine jail sitting naked while being searched for contraband triggered accusations of further rights abuses in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

The inmates of the Cebu provincial jail forced to strip while anti-drug agents, police and military searched their cells, prison officer Rafael Espina said.

Photos released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and provincial police showed the inmates sitting naked and cross-legged as armed police guarded them.

A statement released by the drug enforcement agency said the raid had netted ‘several packets’ of methamphetamines and marijuana leaves, as well as knives and mobile phones.

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“This incident clearly amounts to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

The NGO cited United Nations’ standards and Philippine laws in punctuating the obligation of authorities to ensure prisoners were not subjected to torture or ill-treatment.

Human Rights Watch also said international standards prohibited searches that intimidated or unnecessarily intruded upon a prisoner’s privacy.

The statement went on to say, “the conduct of these searches — out in the open and permitting photographs to be taken — was inhuman and degrading and violated the prisoners’ rights to privacy.”

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