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Source: Amnesty International –

The Pakistani authorities’ failure to reduce severe overcrowding in prisons during the first wave of COVID-19 has left tens of thousands of prisoners dangerously exposed as infections and fatalities once again rise across the country, said a new report from Amnesty International and Justice Project Pakistan.

Prisoners of the Pandemic – The Right to Health and COVID-19 in Pakistan’s detention facilities examines the response of the Pakistani government and judiciary to the challenges of COVID-19 in prisons between March and July 2020. Despite the authorities’ stated objective of reducing Pakistan’s prison population to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the report finds that key decisions by the Supreme Court and administrative failings by prison authorities contributed instead to an increase in the prison population in the early months of the pandemic.

The authorities must learn the lessons of the first wave and urgently ensure a significant reduction in the country’s prison population