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Turia says torture, scare-mongering unacceptable

Turia says torture and scare-mongering unacceptable

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

8 June 2006

“National’s sensational media-grabs attacking individual prisoners are scandalous” said Tariana Turia today.

National MP Simon Power today released a statement to remind New Zealanders yet again of the violent offences and past history of an individual inmate at Hawkes Bay Prison.

“What really offended me, was Mr Power’s comments that Mr Te Hei had received compensation for ‘alleged torture’ and the emphasis on the amount of compensation he received” said Mrs Turia.

“The issue is not about compensation”. And the allegations were proven to be correct" said Mrs Turia.

“Let’s face the facts - Mr Power should be asking why the compensation was awarded in the first place” said Mrs Turia. "Mr Power is being irresponsible in seeking out cheap political headlines at the expense of the facts".

“The record stands that the events at Mangaroa Prison in 1991 and 1993 were of such magnitude that they were reported to the United Nations committees for human rights and torture”.

“The records revealed that some prisoners were held naked in outdoor yards overnight and denied medical attention for injuries including bruising, black eyes and cracked ribs”.

“A ministerial inquiry found the prison used informal squads of guards known as ‘designated hitters’ to restrain and beat inmates in a series of systematic beatings”.

“Twelve guards were sacked, and the Government issued a formal apology to the prisoners involved”.

“If the National Party is going to continually pick on individual inmates and throw their case histories into the media spotlight, they better rethink what sort of world they are promoting” said Mrs Turia

“Prisoners are particularly vulnerable to violence on the inside - they have nowhere to run and hide” said Mrs Turia. “But eventually they will return to our communities, and if we are going to continually target them for our condemnation, then there is little hope for any change on the outside”.

“All that such comments do, is make inmates angry - and communities intolerant” said Mrs Turia. “We need to think about ways in which we can support inmates to achieve effective reintegration into our streets, our homes, our towns”.

“Violence in prison - whether by prisoners or prison officers - is to be deplored, regardless of what crimes were committed to require a prison lag”.

ENDS

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