LAHORE: Refusing to accept a request by the US Consulate in Lahore, the Punjab government on Saturday said it will not remove surveillance cameras in the high security cell where double murder accused Raymond Davis is confined.
The consulate had earlier made a verbal request to remove the cameras. After refusal by the Punjab government, the consulate expressed displeasure over non-cooperation, said a home department official requesting anonymity.
The US official reportedly has access to a refrigerator, mobile phone and an antenna used for satellite communication, which is a violation of the Punjab Prisons Rules of 2010.
Davis is being kept in a high-security cell at the Central Jail Kot Lakhpat in Lahore. The jail department, on the instructions of the home department, has installed surveillance cameras in all high security cells in various jails. Special security guards are also deployed to prevent any untoward incident.
Earlier, inmates of a defunct organisation had been confined to 22 cells at the same jail, but they were shifted to various other jails for security reasons. Currently, 21 cells are empty.
According to the ruling of the apex court and prison rules, the home secretary cannot allow any inmate charged or convicted in heinous crimes, including murder, a home department official said. Such facilities are not even allowed to ordinary prisoners under the direction of the apex court, he added.
Mobile phone use has been declared a crime by the home department, but in Davis’ case it was provided without authorisation, a jail department official said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2011.