His name is Prince Mavaro. At the time of arrest, he was 23 year-old and married with a child aged 1. As his wife was unemployed, he was the sole breadwinner of the family. In May 2008, he was arrested on charges of unlawful entry. Prince could not afford to engage a lawyer to defend his legal rights. He stayed in remand prison for 10 months before IBJ fellow John Burombo started assisting him.During interrogations, he was severely assaulted by the police: he was tied up and beaten under the feet and on the knees with baton sticks and bottles. For several weeks, he sustained a series of injuries, including swollen feet, which made it very difficult for him to stand and walk. He spent almost three weeks in police custody before he was taken to a court of law. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and complained to the court of the ill-treatment he had suffered at the hands of the police but no action was taken. He was remanded in custody.
At that time, the remand prison was going through a serious crisis, including overcrowding, food shortages, and lack of access to medical treatment. Inmates barely had a single decent meal per day and diseases like pellagra and cholera were rampant. The last truck which transported the prisoners to and from courts broke down in May 2008, leaving them enable to attend trial. Prisoners were therefore continually remanded in custody in absentia.
When John commenced legal assistance the main concern was to get Prince out of custody. He applied for bail but it was denied. With the court system seriously dysfunctional, the State was taking a considerable time to bring the matter to trial and Prince continued to be remanded in custody, leaving his wife and baby totally vulnerable. John therefore decided to apply for a refusal of the further remand of Prince pending trial. In March 2009, such application was made to the court. After considering all submissions, the court upheld the application. Prince was discharged and released from custody. He almost spent one year in remand prison. He could barely hide his happiness and gratefulness at recovering freedom after such a long time away from his wife and 1-year old baby.