Monday, June 26, 2017

Framed Heinrich van Rooyen's life in Prison

We must find a way to un-frame him 
  
As most know, I have been visiting Heinrich van Rooyen at St Albans prison for a while now, every second Sunday if I am well enough to go.  But I had to go on Sunday, sick as I was with staphylococcus pneumonia but dressed warmly, masked and had a drip up. I also took my nebuliser with me just in case.
Heini was looking good and as usual overjoyed to see us.  We were also asked if I could see another prisoner who has a problem with his parole hearing and when I looked into his eyes, I saw that there was no killer there at all.  I am going to see how I can help him chivvy the legal aid board that deals with paroles.  But that will be a story for another day.  His name is Marius, and as I have experienced, a gently and soft man in the wrong place.
Because this was a good staff complement this week, everything went quite smoothly and we did not have to wait long to see Heini.  There was a bit of a scuffle because inmates have to sit on iron benches and visitors on wooden benches and my wheelchair could only stay on the side of the prisoners.  Not that it bothered me in the least.  I have met a lot of wonderful inmates during this time and they have all been kind to me, far more kind and considerate than the wardens.  But again, this particular group of wardens who work every second weekend really show their humanity and compassion.
In the visitors area is a shop that gets put up and taken down after visiting hours.  No one may bring any food into the prison and everything has to be bought from that shop.  Now here in lies a slight problem.   The shop is not allowed to make money out of the inmates.  There is a court order that the shop is not allowed to profit 0ff the inmates.  It can be found in the Correctional Services Act 11 of 98; Section 121, 122 and 123.  The shop should not be allowed to make an internal policy that is not in line with the law.   This law deals with goods  sold to inmates.
Every time I go there, I go with my scrap of paper that has written on it what the prisoner needs to purchase.  The prisoner is not allowed to go buy but the visitors are and in a wheelchair it can become something of a problem.  Nevertheless, we always buy bananas, tomatoes, Russian sausage, pies, niknaks, suckers and cheese.  Nicknaks and suckers are what you can use to trade for something someone else has that they need and you don’t have.  This internal policy of St Albans should be stopped.  
Over the last month, prisoners are being transferred without their permission (they must want to go) to other prisons (Kirkwood and Middelburg) but are not allowed to make a phone call home to let their families know that they are moving to another prison because the wardens cut the phone lines. This is an illegal transfer. More forced transfers are expected but because of no phones they are unable to complain to their families.  They can’t phone their lawyers.  If you go to the psychologist or the social worker to make an official call, you are being told that they are not allowed to make the call for you, although they are subsidised by the state monthly to make official calls for us.    This kind of treatment of the inmates proves that they don’t want any information to get out, just as I put onto my FB page today on St Albans.
The procedure on transfers states that an inmate must have written a request to be transferred.  Such an application needs approval and that inmate must provide an address of a next of kin that is staying close to that prison.  That is the ONLY reason the inmate would want to be transferred.  This is also apparent with what was done with the beaten up inmates on the Boxing Day 2016.  Many that were injured were just shipped out to other prisons so that there would be no coordinated procedure for ascertaining what had taken place.  It was blatantly obvious that AFTER the situation was under control, the wardens and dogs pushed and shoved the inmates into a corner where they could not get out and they were set about with batons, leaving an alleged 3 inmates tortured to death.  While I do not condone the behaviour of the inmates to stab wardens, there does come a point at which the oil boils over when no human rights of prisoners are given to them and they are in lockdown constantly and are never allowed out for exercise.  The frustration levels must have been the culprit here, but the wardens did not have to beat or torture people to death after they had secured the situation in three separate passages.
At least the inmates are paying for their crimes.  These warders make mob justice and corruption appear legal.  I have the names of the wardens responsible for this atrocity.   The inmates think that those wardens are just murdering gangsters and the inmates feel above them in their value structures. They belong in prison more than a lot of inmates.
Then I had a full blown asthma attack.   The St Albans Investigating Officer was fast to find a plug for my nebuliser and to help set it up and put the medication in.  The prisoners were concerned and the Investigating Officer was concerned.  The kindness I was shown on Sunday by the Investigating Officer and the prisoners was a sight to behold.  I wish I knew the investigating Officer’s name so I could thank him properly, but I will do that when I go back to visit Heini. As you can imagine, once the breathing was under control, we left a few minutes earlier than normally.  I did however, have the chance to speak with Marius Rondganger about his parole.  His case is also a travesty of justice.   And before I end off, let me tell you what Heini told me about his court case.  “At the end of the first half of my trial, Terry Price informed me that Judge Nathan Erasmus that we have to bring an application that he, the judge must be changed.  During the break, the whole atmosphere changed.  Terry convinced my family that it was necessary to change the judge.  He heard from a Judge friend that Nathan Erasmus told that judge that he’d found me innocent.  This was a trick forcing us to keep Erasmus.   That was the biggest mistake because from there everything went south.  The decisions made around all the Trial within trials were so biased he could not even give a reason why he denied my application to appeal.  This was total bias.  Terry Price’s move cost a man his life and his family 1 million 8 hundred thousand rand in legal fees.  For what?  To put an innocent man in prison for two life sentences and 28 years with no leave to appeal?”

It is a not so well-veiled secret as to why the 2005 murders of Victoria Stadler and Jessica Wheeler and by whom.  Most people in Knysna know who did it.  I have been told the names as well.   Drugs, dealers, young girls, lack of money and gangsters are the recipe for murder.  Who murdered those girls?  Why won’t the Independent Police Investigative Directorate open the case again?  Are they shielding their own or will it be too much of an admission of ineptitude if he is released and he can sue them for wrongful arrest and imprisonment?   The police want Heini to go back to court and the Judiciary want Heini to go back to the cops!!!  And in the meantime the years of sitting in prison continue unabated with little hope of a decent closure for this family.  They have all been punished. 

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