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South African TV Documents Misery and Death in Zimbabwe's Prisons

An investigative television report by the South African Broadcasting Corporation has detailed the deplorable conditions in Zimbabwe's prisons where, the SABC said, malnutrition and disease are claiming the lives of as many as 20 prisoners a day.

SABC on Monday started broadcasting video of starving, sick prisoners taken inside prisons.

Those released from Zimbabwean prisons have testified to the misery inside their walls.

After his release on bail from a Mutare remand prison last month, Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett - designated but not yet sworn in as a deputy agriculture minister - likened conditions there to a World War Two concentration camp.

An official of the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders said that the economic hardships gripping the country have not spared the prisons, contributing to the suffering of those incarcerated.

Association Chairman Edison Chihota told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the problem has been compounded because the budget provided to Zimbabwe Prison Services is insufficient to see to the proper nutrition and medical care of prisoners.

He estimated that about five prisoners a day are succumbing to hunger or disease in the prisons, especially in those which lack any hospital or clinic facilities.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...