Thursday, May 6, 2021
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HomePoliticalCorrections Minister Deflecting Torture Criticism Say Prisoner Advocates

Corrections Minister Deflecting Torture Criticism Say Prisoner Advocates


Prisoner advocacy group People Against Prisons Aotearoa
says it’s confused as to why Corrections Minister Kelvin
Davis alleged its newsletter was inciting riots. Responding
to the allegations made yesterday during oral question time
in Parliament, the group’s spokesperson said Davis was
desperate and deflecting.

“Kelvin is making these
allegations to distract from the fact that prison guards
gassed Māori women and forced them to crawl on the floor of
their cells and beg for food,” said the group’s
spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “Kelvin is attacking
legitimate political activity to distract the public from
the torture he has overseen as Minister of
Corrections.”

“Kelvin Davis is conflating
non-violent collective action with rioting in order to
deflect attention from the humiliation and abuse he allowed
Mihi Bassett to suffer,” says Rākete.

“Of course
our organisation isn’t trying to incite riots,” says
spokesperson Emilie Rākete. “Our prisoner newsletter,
Take No Prisoners, has been published since 2018 and has
hundreds of readers. We regularly mail it into prisons and
have never had a problem.”

“Our February edition
discussed People Against Prisons Aotearoa’s national
nonviolent organising strategy. The strategy would see
prisoners forming organising committees and working with
community organisations to see meaningful action on the
disgusting conditions Davis has allowed to fester in our
country’s prisons,” says Rākete. “The newsletter uses
the words ‘non-violent’ over and over again, but Davis
seems to be pretending he can’t read.”

The
newsletter lists some human rights laid out in the
Corrections Act that People Against Prisons Aotearoa says
are frequently violated. It also suggests some actions
prisoners might take, like writing a petition, refusing to
work, or putting pressure on Corrections through the
media.

“We’re trying to help prisoners peacefully
coordinate to get the rights Kelvin himself promised them
with his Hōkai Rangi strategy. It’s bizarre he’s
pretending this is dangerous.”

“The only one
inciting prison riots is Kelvin Davis, when he allows guards
to abuse and torture prisoners. We are trying to avert
future riots by giving prisoners the tools they need to make
their voices heard in non-violent ways.”

“It is
insulting to Māori communities crying out for change that
Kelvin Davis is playing politics using people’s lives,”
says Rākete. “We all saw that Kelvin allows male prison
guards to force woman prisoners to show their used tampons
in order to get clean ones. This paranoid fantasy of his
won’t make us forget that.”

The group say they
understand that Kelvin Davis would not provide a copy of
their newsletter to media. The latest edition of Take No
Prisoners, along with back copies, can be read on People
Against Prisons Aotearoa’s website at http://papa.org.nz/publications

© Scoop Media

 



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