1 Aug 2012

France ordered to pay New Caledonian inmates compensation

11:31 am on 1 August 2012

A court in New Caledonia has ordered the French state to pay compensation to 30 inmates for locking them up in conditions devoid of human dignity.

The ruling follows a complaint by about 100 prisoners whose case was lodged with the help of the International Observatory of Prisons and the territory's Human Rights League.

In the ruling applying only to the first 30 inmates, the state has been ordered to give each of them 200 US dollars plus compensation of between 1,000 and 7,000 dollars depending on the length of their incarceration.

According to the submissions, the jail conditions are degrading, with inmates being kept in overcrowded and rat-infested cells for 23 hours a day, and only let out twice for half an hour.

The Camp Est jail was built in the 19th century and suffers from some of the most serious overcrowding of any French-run detention centre.

Last month, New Caledonia's two members of the French National Assembly decried the conditions at the territory's jail, saying the situation is explosive and the conditions are unworthy.