Guyanese death row inmate stages hunger strike again

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday May 28, 2012 – Three years after staging a hunger strike in protest against alleged threats by his jailors to poison him, death row inmate Ganga Deolall is off food again.

This time, Deolall has reportedly taken the action in protest over the lack of proper medical attention he is receiving from personnel at the penal institution.

According to local media, his relatives are calling on the relevant authorities to investigate what they claim is the unfair treatment being meted out to the diabetic inmate.

Deolall, 48, has been serving out a death sentence for the 1993 murder of 29-year-old Yvette Lall, whose mutilated body trussed to a crankshaft and slab of concrete was found at La Grange, West Bank.

Relatives of Deolall have reportedly stated that the inmate has been refusing meals for the past four days to force authorities to provide him with diabetes medication which he needs but is not being given. There is also a charge from the family that since being diagnosed with the chronic illness during his incarceration, he is supposed to be getting special foods and lots of cranberry juice, but these provisions were not being looked after; nor is Deolall always allowed to make his scheduled clinic visits.

It is also alleged that on May 16, Deolall awoke to find the left side of his body numb and despite reportedly being assured by the prison medic that he would be allowed to visit the doctor, but that did not occur that day nor the following day when the inmate reportedly requested for a second time to go to the doctor. This has been identified as the event that pushed the prisoner to go back on hunger strike.

Director of Prisons Dale Erskine has reportedly stated that he was unaware of the hunger strike, but would launch an investigation into the matter.

This stand-off between the convicted murderer and the Guyana penal system comes just days after damning reports circulated in the Guyana media of the scathing criticisms that the State Department of the United States has made of human rights injustices in Guyanese prisons.

According to the recently released 2011 report on Human Rights Practices by the State Department, the most serious human rights abuses in Guyana involved complaints of mistreatment of suspects and detainees by security forces, unlawful killings by police, and poor prison and jail conditions. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)