As more family members of those who are suspected of perpetrating the insurgency of 30th December 2015 are put under arrest we must remind the authorities of their constitutional responsibility to either declare a state of emergency or abide by section 19 of the constitution which establishes a 72 hour limit to detention before court appearance .
The standards established for detainees during a state of emergency are as follows:
According to section 36 of the Constitution, where a person is detained under a state of emergency.-
“(a) he or she shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than twenty four hours after the commencement of the detention, be furnished with a statement in writing specifying in detail the grounds upon which he or she is detained; and the statement shall be read, and, if necessary, interpreted, to the person who is detained in a language which he or she understands
(b) the spouse, parent, child or other available next-of-kin of the person detained shall be informed by the authority effecting the detention and shall be permitted access to the person concerned at the earliest practicable opportunity, and in any case not later than twenty-four hours after the commencement of the detention;
(c) where none of the persons mentioned in paragraph (b) can be traced or none of them is willing and able to see the person detained, the person who is detained shall be informed of this fact within twenty-four hours of the commencement of the detention and he or she shall be informed of his or her right to name and give particulars of some other person who shall have the same right of access to the person who is detained as any of the persons mentioned in paragraph (b);
(d) not more than fourteen days after the commencement of his or her detention, the authority which effected the same shall give notice in the Gazette stating that he or she has been detained and giving particulars of the provision of law under which the detention is authorised;
(e) not more than thirty days after the commencement of his or her detention, and after that at intervals of not more than ninety days during the continuance of his or her detention, the case of the person concerned shall be reviewed by a tribunal as provided in subsection (2);
(f) the person who is detained shall be afforded every possible facility to consult a legal practitioner of his or her choice who shall be permitted to make representation to the tribunal appointed to review the case;
(g) at the hearing before the tribunal appointed for review of his or her case, the person detained shall be entitled to appear in person or by a legal practitioner of his or her choice and at his or her own expense.
(2) A tribunal appointed to review the cases of persons who have been detained shall be composed of three persons being, or qualified to be appointed as, judges of the High Court
(3) A tribunal composed of the same members shall not review more than once the case of a particular person who has been detained
(4) On a review by a tribunal of the case of a person who has been detained, the tribunal may order the release of the person or it may uphold the detention; and the authority by which the detention was ordered shall act in accordance with the decision of the tribunal for the release of any person.
(5) No person may be detained under or by virtue of an Act of the National Assembly referred to in section 35 during any state of emergency in excess of a total of one hundred and eighty-two days (whether such days are consecutive or not) and, on the expiry of that period, any person who has been so detained shall be entitled to invoke the provisions of section 19 (right to person liberty).
(6) In every month during the period in which a state of public emergency is in force and in which there is a sitting of the National Assembly, a Secretary of state authorised by the president shall make a report to the National Assembly of the number of persons detained by virtue of or under an Act of the National Assembly to which section 35 refers and the number of cases in which the authority which ordered the detention has acted in accordance with the decisions of the tribunal as provided in subsection (4).
(7) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that where the declaration of a state of public emergency is revoked or otherwise ceases to be in force, any person who is in detention or in custody by virtue of or under an Act of the National Assembly to which section 35 refers, other than a person sentenced to imprisonment by a court for an offence against such a law for a term which has not then expired, shall be released immediately without further order.
In the absence of a state of emergency the standards should be more humane.