PAPA protesters discharged without conviction
Press release - [05:45pm 28/09/2017] - For Immediate Use
PRESS RELEASE: People Against Prisons Aotearoa
PAPA protesters discharged without conviction in Hamilton District Court
Three organisers from the prisoner advocacy organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) have been discharged without conviction today at the Hamilton District Court.
The three appeared on charges of wilful trespass following an occupation of the Department of Corrections’ Central Regional Office in Hamilton in November 2016.
“We held the occupation to demand that a transgender woman prisoner, who was being held in solitary confinement, be removed from isolation,” says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rākete.
PAPA advocates noticed a significant change in the woman when they visited her at Spring Hill prison, following her transfer to a solitary confinement cell. “It was clear there was a serious deterioration in her mental and physical well-being,” says Rākete.
At the trial, a PAPA organiser gave evidence that the treatment of the transgender woman was inhumane and degrading. “Solitary confinement was causing her serious harm. This was accepted by the Judge,” says Rākete.
“The protesters were arrested at the Corrections Office following nearly 3 hours of negotiations with the police.”
“The Judge found that the protesters were lawfully trespassed but used his discretion to discharge them without conviction.”
“The Judge decided to discharge the protesters because he believed that, although their actions were illegal, they acted with good intention and in the interests of the transgender woman.”
Rākete says that PAPA is about to launch a campaign to end all forms of solitary confinement in New Zealand prisons.
“Solitary confinement is inhumane and degrading. What happened to this woman should not happen to anyone else.”