“In Angola, the policemen working in the prisons were traumatized by years of civil war”
I am pleased that a video that shows the abuses committed by policemen against prisoners in Comarca Viana has been shared. This is very much a benefit of social networks: to inform the population of unacceptable behaviour.In Angola, torture and police violence are extremely common in prisons. Through our organisation, I regularly meet with families of prisoners who tell me about the poor treatment their relatives endure. We reach out to the government but they just ignore us. Luckily, there are some brave people out there who are willing to share videos that provoke such public indignation that the authorities are forced to take strong measures, for instance by sacking the Comarca Viana prison director earlier this year.Angola suffered through a long civil war [from 1975 to 2002]. Many of the policemen and other officers working in the prisons received military training during this period and saw combat. They returned traumatised and filled with hate. They are extremely violent men who no longer have any notion of right and wrong. So it is unsurprising that such heinous acts are occurring today. Another crucial problem affecting prison populations is overcrowding [according to Angolan authorities, the 34 prisons in the country hold nearly twice as many prisoners as their maximum capacity], which creates tensions among the inmates and, as a result, tensions with the prison personnel.