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Brigadier António Augusto Maurice has been appointed to replace Jeremias Cumbe as Director General of the National Penitentiary Service (SERNAP). Coming from the Ministry of National Defence, and up until recently engaged in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado, Maurice was sworn in by Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário in Maputo on Friday (24-09).
The National Penitentiary Service (SERNAP) must devote greater attention to improving the conditions of internment in penitentiary establishments and centres, with a view to guaranteeing respect for human dignity and observance of the rights of prisoners, the prime minister said at Brigadier Maurice’s inauguration.
“In its mission to manage and coordinate the penitentiary services, SERNAP must guarantee respect for human dignity and observance of the rights of inmates,” do Rosário added.
It is in this context that the government had defined as one of its strategic objectives, ensuring the proper functioning of the justice administration system, through the adoption of measures to decongest prison establishments.
Inmates should be treated with justice and dignity, the prime minister said, so as to respect their personality and such legal rights and interests as were not affected by their sentencing.
He added that essential social services such as nutrition, sanitation, medical assistance, productive activities and recreation and religious practice, among others, must also be ensured.
Agostinho do Rosário admitted that the challenges of the national penitentiary system were enormous, and the incumbent should take into account, among others, the improvement and modernization of security conditions in prisons, in order to reduce the number of escapes.
He also urged the new director-general of SERNAP to streamline the process of humanizing the execution of sentences, ensuring that prisons had effective conditions for rehabilitation and social reintegration, and promoting and encouraging the development of economic activities that could contribute to the generation of income and the improvement of living conditions in prisons.
Speaking in reply, António Augusto Maurice pledged to work on improving conditions in the penitentiary sector, but said that he intended first to analyse where he should start. After the ceremony, the new director-general visited the Preventive Penitentiary Establishment of Maputo (‘Civil Prison’) where he met members of the SERNAP Advisory Board.