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Activist protests “inhumane” jail cell conditions

Queen Street Police Station

YaYa Marin Coleman

YaYa Marin Coleman

Monday, November 3, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting:  Activist Yaya Marin Coleman has begun an intended weekly protest against the conditions in police station holding cells countrywide.

This morning she was in front of Queen Street Police Station in Belize City.

It is the oldest and most infamous jail in Belize, called “piss house” because of the collection of urine and fecal matter on the floor, which is rarely washed out by police.

Queen Street Police Station

Queen Street Police Station

The issue, says Marin Coleman, is about more than the unsavoury reputation, but the unhealthy conditions for both officers and citizens alike.

Marin Coleman says she has been joined by the human rights commission of Belize which will issue a press release in support.

She says to those who believe that a night inside the filthy holding cells is the lot for those who fall afoul of the law and therefore deserved, that you would have to spend time inside which would certainly change the mind.

She believes Belizeans have put up with the conditions for too long and calls on those who agree with her to join in until the Department takes action.

Marin Coleman also invites journalists to seek access to the cells along with a human rights representative to document the conditions therein.

The activist is open to meeting with police authorities but will continue her one woman protest until conditions improve.

She has additionally started a campaign to have ordinary Belizeans, free of restriction, record aurally and visually police officers at work.

The Professional Standards Branch has previously encouraged the practice as useful for their own self-policing work.

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