Tags / Justice
Despite the prison is self-managed, security and administrative management of the prison entrusted to the police. In the pyramid of the prison system, at the back of the interior minister and the director of the penitentiary department there is the colonel-in-chief, the only one who actually lives in the building and, in fact, represents the Bolivian government within the walls of San Pedro. Often they are interviewed by journalist and videomaker and, with same frequency, they are replaced by their superiors.
Section Pinos, which owes its name to a large tree in the middle of his small yard, holds two restaurants, two bars, a soccer field, a billiard room and a study room, now it used as a copy shop. The lack of accommodation available in the prison, because of overcrowding, led prisoners to set up makeshift shelters practically anywhere: attics, stairs and gaps have thus become housing for one or more people, sometimes entire families.
In each section are placed some pay phones equipped with metered and managed by one or more inmates, required to pay the good section of the revenues. The phone, controlled by the police prison, should be the only system of communication with the outside. In truth, most of the prisoners own a mobile phone with which it can continue to manage relationships with the outside and, if they did, their illicit activities, unaware of the police.
The monoblock of Palmar, although it is a collective dormitory, it is equipped with a TV and three electric hot-plates. Television, inside the prison, is a faithful mate of life for the majority of the prisoners and it continues to remain on even when no one looks.
Visits inside the prison are allowed for most days of the week and like everything inside the prison are by payment.Visitors are allowed to spend the entire day inside and through an additional payment, even to stay overnight.Who does not receive visits can always reach his loved ones through the inevitable phone, only prohibited on paper and for which refills are sold in many commercial activities managed by the prisoners.
The roofs of the prison, which are accessed by some cells of the last floor moving a sheet resting on the beams, are used for a variety of activities:drying foods,sunbathing,smoking outdoors and drying clothes . Of this late activity are occupied the mostly of poorest prisoners who, after washing clothes, bedding and mattresses for other companions; they venture on to the rickety sheet metal roofing at about 10 meters above the ground, seriously endangering their lives, to earn only a few pesos.
Within a niche carved into the wall and protected by a wooden structure, a television with a powerful sound system it offers a little âentertainment to the prisoners, in the yard of Palmar section. Often some viewers are not part of the section but, despite being prohibited, there is a tacit tolerance and shared.
Marco, a young twenty year old with a long interval between the recovery community and juvenile prison dreams, as a free man, a future in hip hop music. habitual consumer of alcohol and drugs of all kinds, he wrote his lyrics mostly in prison, where he finds every day a lot of ideas, including the conditions of the detainees and their adventures before his arrest. It is more inspired by Latin American artists and Cypress Hill.
Among the many commercial and craft activities there is a dressmakerâs workroom manage by 3 three prisoners, which shall make garments both for the prisoners themselves than for external institutions and associations. Genaro, the head of the workshop, he learned to be a tailor in prison and dreams, as a free man, to open his own workshop. In his past, for years, he had always dealt with the cocaine refining process in the Bolivian jungle and he had never done work legally paid.
In addition to the shelters and individual cells, there are also common dormitories, arranged to accommodate a larger number of prisoners, because the rent of a single cell is quite expensive and many can not afford it.To convict it is given a bed, a personal locker and the possibility to use the common warming. So, without any rehabilitative logic, prisoners in preventive detention, young thieves and small-time dealers must live side by side with murderers, rapists and drug traffickers.
Several times a week entering hundreds of liters of smuggled alcohol in San Pedro. Corruption, which is overflowing among the police, it allows the input and feeds a commercial chain, as well, is created. Mostly it is pure alcohol at 96 Â°, manufactured by the bolivian company names Caiman and packaged in aluminum cans of 1 liter with a characteristic purple color. After the resale and consumption of their content, the latter are recycled within the prison and thus become pretty toys sold outside.
Penitenziary organization gives the breakfast and the lunch to the prisoners, in the plazas of the sections. Out of this, everything is by payment. Every is coocked by prisoners in the kitchen of Palmar section.
It took Hajrija Selimovic (not pictured) 19 years to bury her dead husband and her two sons. "It was July 11th, 1995 when I last saw my boys Nermin, 19, and Samir, 25, and my husband Hasan". On July 11, 1995, Bosnian Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic stormed through the UN peacekeeping enclave into the city of Srebrenica, executing over 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys. Many other hundred inhabitants tried to flee through enemy lines to reach the safe haven of Tuzla, Bosniak territory. At least 8,372 men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica area and burried in so called primary grave sites. Soon after the massacre the perpetrators tried to cover their traces of this genocide and opened the mass graves in order to rebury the dead all over Bosnian Serb territory in so called secondary mass graves. During this attempt many dead bodies were "broken" leading to the fact that some parts of a body went to one grave and other parts to other graves. It took several years after the war to identify the most of these 300 secondary mass graves. In 1997 the ICMP was set up in order to search and identify the dead people from Srebrenica. But it wasn't before 2002 until the first identification was possible through DNA.
Dragana Vučetić (pictured), Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the International Comitee for Missing Persons (ICMP): "The greatest problem we have is that we do not find a complete body in one grave. So we have to identify each and every bone. Sometimes we find human remains of one person in up to four secondary mass grave sites." That is what makes the work so complicated.
After bones are found - either in mass graves or above the surface (pictured) - these bones are collected by the ICMP. Dragana Vučetić then cuts out a piece of the bone (pictured) and sends it to Tuzla's Identification Coordination Division (ICD) where they try to extract DNA. The ICD is also responsible for the collecting of Blood samples by relatives. The closer the relatives are the better the chance to identify someone. Blood samples are stored in the ICD (pictured).
If a blood sample - like the one from Hajrija Selimovic - fits with DNA from newly found bones the ICMP is contacting the relatives. Hajrija Selimovic: "The ICMP called me and told me that they found my husband, but they don't know where his head is". It isn't difficult to understand that Hajrija didn't let the body of her husband be reburied but wanted to wait until the head was found. "I got another call", Hajrija says. "they have found my son! But the problem was they didn't know which son it was". Hajirija had to wait another two years before also her other son had been identified. In 2013 she was able to put her husband (with his head) to rest... In 2014 she had to attend (and didn't want to be photographed during the burial, acutally was just lying next to fence during the ceremony) the burial again and had to lay her two boys to rest! It took her 19 years!
Jasmin Agovic was the head of press at that time (in 2014) and told me following thing: "Imagine you are one of these women and you know that your brothers, your husband, your sons are dead. You can't be sure because their dead bodies haven't been found yet. Then you receive a call and someone tells you that they have found some bones and that one of your sons is dead. But they don't know which one, they can't tell you. And they haven't found everything of the human remains. On which point do you decide to burry your loved-ones or wait if the maybe find more bones. As an ICMP forensic team member you aks yourself if you identify onother bone: Should I call the women and tell them I have found one more bone or do I wait until I find more bones and they can burry their loved-ones. When do I call them and when do I not? What if they die in the meantime and you weren't able to give them their dead sons' bodies back?"
The process of contacting family members is a psychologically stressful one from start to finish, as survivors re-live the agony of the loss while deciding to hold a funeral immediately or to wait until all the remains have been found.
Not all of the dead are found in mass graves. Many were killed while they were trying to flee the enclave through Bosnian Serb enemy lines. Zijad Ibrić (pictured) who fled the enclave on Juy 11th, 1995 through enemy lines and survived is now working as a deminer in the region for Norwegian People's Aid. The area surrounding Srebrenica is still scattered with landmines and UXO. No anti-mine-vehicle and no dogs can operate in that area. Only the deminers themselves. And they have to see and collect the bones as well as clothings and personal belongings for ICMP for identification.
Zijad Ibrić: "I was fleeing Srebrenica with my younger brother on July 11th. My younger brother didn't make it. One moment he was next to me, the other he was vanished. Bosnian Serbs were coming and telling us they are refugees themselves and we should come out of the woods. Many did. They were arrested and later murdered. They also were firing granates on us. Many died. But today I am not angry. Norwegian People's Aid is a multi-ethnical family. I am working with Serbs and Croats. It wasn't my collegues who killed someone. It was those criminals and politicans at that time. Not today. Today I come back here and I am happy for each bone I find, for each individula I can help to be identified through ICMP. That is what I am doing today."
Dragana Vučetić (pictured): "Sometimes it is not easy to get useful DNA out of bones that were lying on the ground for nearly 20 years. We have some bones in our mortuary (pictured) we were trying to identify for four or five years now." But technology increases. In Sarajaevo ICMP now runs hyper-modern cubes that are able to multiply short DNA parts so that the DNA can be compared with the blood samples and so they were able to identify more and more people.
Every year on July 11th, the anniversary, a commemoration is happening in Potocari (the place where the UN Dutch peacekeeping bataillong was stationed - pictured) and all the dead who were identified in the last year are burried. 6,241 victims have been buried so far during the annual anniversaries of the massacre in Potocari, Bosnia. The number of burials decrease every year. While burrying their relatives (burial of Nermin, 19, and Samir, 25 - pictured / more images available including the names on graves and coffins) the women cry and collapse and faint (pictured). But finally they were able to say goodbye to their loved-ones. Only because of the work of ICMP.
More quotes and pictures available on request.
Mined area near Srebrenica. On July 11th, 1995, when Bosnian Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic stormed through the UN peacekeeping enclave, hundreds of inhabitants decided to flee through the woods. Many of them were killed or captured.
Human remains found in a mined area near Srebrenica.
Human remains found in a mined area near Srebrenica.
Human remains and a key of a missing person found in a mined area near Srebrenica.
Deminer from Norwegian People's Aid demining the area around Srebrenica where hundreds of inhabitants tried to flee through enemy lines on July 11, 1995 when Bosnian Serb troops stormed trough the UN peacekeeping enclave. Deminers are trying to find human remains to identify missing persons.
A deminer from Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) holding human remains found during demining activities in the Srebrenica area.
Deminers from Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) are finding human bones and clothings of thoses who died while trying to flee through enemy lines after Bosnian Serb troops stormed Srebrenica on July 11, 1995.
Human remains and clothings found during demining activities by Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) in Srebrenica area. After the enclave had been stormed by Bosnian Serb troops hundreds of people tried to escape through mined area.
Human remains found in a mined area near Srebrenica. After Bosnian Serb troops stormed the enclave hundreds tried to flee through enemy lines and were captured or killed.
Newly found human bones were marked. Soon they will be covered until they got collected by ICMP for identification process.
A deminer from Norwegian People's Aid is clearing a lot in Srebrenica area.
A deminer from NPA showing clothings found during demining activities in the Srebrenica area.
A deminer from NPA showing clothings found during demining activities in the Srebrenica area.
A wallet from a missing person found during demining activities. ICMP is collecting all clothings and human remains in order to identify missing persons.
A toothbrush from a missing person found during demining activities. ICMP is collecting all clothings and human remains in order to identify missing persons.
Zijad Ibrić who fled the enclave on Juy 11th, 1995 through enemy lines and survived. He is now working as a deminer in the region where he is also finding human remains of those who didn't make it through.
New roads had to be build in order to enter the mined area around Srebrenica to start demining activities and search for human remains.
A young Bosnian woman is walking next to some of the tombstones at the Potocari memorial cemetary.
320,000 migrant women are exposed to all kinds of physical and psychological abuse in the domestic service sector of Hong Kong. This story is a testimony of their experiences and struggles.
After being repeatedly abused and realizing that her situation would not improve, in a desperate attempt, Kamsiah ran away from her employer's house without money or documentation. Subsequently she was accused of stealing her employer's wallet which was said to contain around 900 US Dollars. Unfortunately, false accusations are a common practice to pressure migrant workers and avoid paying the wages owed to them. Barefooted, without money nor documentation, she sought refuge in a 24-hour fast food restaurant and waited until another compatriot helped her and took her to a shelter.
Esther C. Bangkawayan is the director of Bethune House shelter, where foreign domestic helpers who suffer abuse find shelter, food, and legal advice. They now house about a dozen women in trouble, but at times they even have to squeeze around 20 people in the small house nestled beside a church in Kowloon. A domestic helper herself, Esther is campaigning the government to scrap two rules she deems unfair: one which forbids employees from changing their employers more than three times a year, and another one which doesn’t allow them from changing to work at another sector of the economy.
42 year old filipino domestic helper Grace signed a misleading labour contract to work in Hong Kong but she instead ended up in Dalian, a northeast Chinese city 1,979 km far from Hong Kong. After confronting her employer about the situation, Grace was put into a return flight to Hong Kong without her pending salary and with only 200 RMB in her wallet. Grace has made now a formal complaint against the recruitment agency which made her labour contract. However, she is not very optimistic regarding her chances of recovering the debt of 40,000 pesos she currently has in the Philippines.
Eni Lestari, Indonesian, is the spokesperson for the Justice for Erwiana Committee. A domestic helper herself, she hopes to get justice for one of her compatriots, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, who came to Hong Kong seeking for a better life and future but instead found a form of modern slavery. Erwiana’s employers hit her so severely that her brain has sustained irreversible injuries. As a result, she is unable to walk properly and has blurred vision. Her employer punched Erwiana so violently that her teeth cracked. She was sent to Indonesia with her body full of bruises and 8 US dollars in her pocket. Outraged immigrants like Lestari demand now justice and prison for her attackers. The Court has already declared them guilty and sentence is pending.
On Sundays thousands of Indonesian women gather in the streets and public spaces around Hong Kong to take advantage of their only day off. Most take their own food and an umbrella and talk to their friends all day long.
“We barely have any money, so we have to take our lunch from our employer's house and sit in any public space that we can so we can enjoy our leisure time with our friends,” said Kamsiah.
To enjoy their free time and to get to know other immigrant workers in Hong Kong, immigrant groups organize activities for the women, such as beauty contests and self-defense classes in Victoria Park. Persaudaraan Setia Hati Terate Fight Club teaches women to protect themselves from abusive employers.
Not only helping the women get away from the world of domestic work for the little time they have off or boosting their ability to defend themselves, such activities are the only social contact many have; and friends made during Sundays can be of great importance when difficulties arise.
FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
Bosnian women mourn at the coffin of a relative prior to the mass burial at Potocari on the 19th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
In the mortuary of Tuzla’s Podrinje Identification Project (PIP) rest several hundred body bags with the remains of victims from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The dead have been identified through DNA analysis but not yet all of their remains have been found. Sometimes family members of the killed victims decide to wait to hold a burial until all bones have been excavated. The identification process is complicated by the fact that in the days and weeks following the Srebrenica massacre ‘primary mass graves’ were unearthed and the remains buried in many different ‘secondary mass graves’ to cover tracks.
Human remains from a secondary mass grave. Forensic anthropologists from Podrinje Identification Project (PIP) have tried to extract DNA from the bones and connect it to blood samples in ICMP’s databank. Until now they didn’t find a match. Sometimes it is not easy to extract enough intact DNA from bones, and often identification is not possible because of the lack of blood samples from relatives.
Dragana Vučetić, Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the International Comitee for Missing Persons (ICMP), with human remains from a Srebrenica-massacre related ‘secondary mass grave’. For four years now ICMP has tried to extract DNA and connect it to blood samples in their databank. Until now they didn’t find a match. Sometimes it is not easy to extract DNA from bones, often identification is not possible because of the lack of blood samples from relatives.
Dragana Vučetić, Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the International Comitee for Missing Persons (ICMP), with human remains from a Srebrenica-massacre related ‘secondary mass grave’. For four years now, ICMP has tried to extract DNA and connect it to blood samples in their databank. Until now they didn’t find a match. Sometimes it is not easy to extract DNA from bones, and often identification is not possible because of the lack of blood samples from relatives.
Blood samples store in Tuzla's Identification Coordination Division (ICD). Identification of missing persons with DNA tests is only possible if a blood reference sample of a close relative is available. ICMP and ICD have made numerous campaigns to encourage relatives of war victims (many of them already living in diaspora abroad) to give blood samples to make identification possible.
In the mortuary of Tuzla’s Podrinje Identification Project (PIP) rest several hundred body bags with the remains of victims from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The dead have been identified through DNA analysis but not yet all of their remains have been found. Family members of the killed victims have decided to hold a burial until all bones have been excavated. The identification process is a complicated one because in the days and weeks following the Srebrenica massacre, perpetrators unearthed ‘primary mass graves’ and scattered the remains in many different ‘secondary mass graves’ to cover their tracks.
A team member of Tuzla's Identification Coordination Division (ICD) shows a bone sample taken from a mass grave near Bosanski Brod. He will soon try to extract DNA from the bone and hopefully the sample will match with a blood sample given by a relative of a missing person to be identified. Identification of missing persons with DNA tests is only possible if a blood reference sample of a close relative is available. ICMP and ICD have made numerous campaigns to encourage relatives of war victims (many of them already living in diaspora abroad) to give blood samples to make identification possible.