IPS – Justice Lost in Mongolia’s Prisons | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The famous activist became especially interested in the country’s prison system when, four years ago, “a child was locked up for seven years for stealing wine and a box of chocolates”.

“People who have committed a horrible crime can pay (to avoid detention) but people who have committed a petty crime go to jail because they don’t have any connections,” said Baasan.

Though Mongolian law states that citizens cannot be arrested without due process, the United States embassy’s human rights report for 2011 found “arbitrary arrest and detention” to be common.

The embassy also cited a United Nations report, which found that two-thirds of detainees in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar who were accused of criminal offenses had been arrested without court authorisation. ...

In 2002, Amnesty International released a report detailing horrific abuses inside Mongolia’s prisons, such as torturing and starving detainees to death.

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“Those with no connections usually starve because they can’t get as much food as other people and can’t get out of the prison as fast,” said Baasan.
Holding back food is also used as a way to force pre-trial detainees to “confess” to crimes they may or may not have committed, though this practice has been on the decline in recent years