On violations observed during the monitoring conducted in the Institutions for the Execution of Penal Decisions in Fier and Fushë-Kruja

On October 28, 2016, observers of the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) carried out a monitoring mission in the Institution for the Execution of Penal Decision in Fier. During the monitoring, we found that convict A.G. had been subjected to a disciplinary measure of exclusion from all joint activities for 20 days, based on article 53, item 1, letter “ç” of the Law no. 8328 dated 16-04-1998 “On the rights and treatment of convicts and detainees.” In terms of respect for the procedure, AHC found that the disciplinary measure had been issued in accordance with the law. Meanwhile, AHC considers it a serious violation of the law that the convict was kept in isolation rooms beyond the deadline envisaged in the measure, namely 9 days more, for a total of 29 days, which represents a flagrant violation of the law.

Asked about the causes of this violation observed by AHC, Fier IEPD employees stated that the convict is a “problematic” person and the institution did not have the possibility, upon conclusion of the isolation period, to place him in the room he was before or another one. The above justification is not only unacceptable, but also unlawful and punishable.

AHC deems it necessary to mention that for the legitimate disciplinary measure, a written document is requested by the doctor to certify that the convict or detainee can handle it, in accordance with article 53 of the law no. 8328, dated 16.04.1998. Keeping the convict in isolation for another 9 days beyond the legal deadline makes the medical check-up even more indispensable as that could influence the worsening of the person’s health and could raise issues of inhuman treatment, per article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Besides the above, AHC conducted a monitoring mission in the Fushë-Kruja IEPD on 15.11.2016, where it found especially striking overcrowding in the pre-trial detention sector. The capacity of the institution, as we were told, is for up to three hundred and fifty persons; there were four hundred and fifty detainees, thus over 50% more than the permitted capacity. It was also disturbing that in some rooms, there were prisoners who slept on the floor, which was humid, and in poor hygiene conditions.

AHC deems that the situation may have been influenced negatively by the increase of “arrest in prison” remand measures or/and the relatively scarce use of alternative sentences. However, in spite of these reasons and partially the problems that have to do with existing infrastructure, AHC deems that the problem is serious and disturbing. Therefore, AHC requests special treatment of this problem by justice system bodies of penal justice because the above conditions have a direct impact on the legitimate rights of convicts and detainees, while the continuation of the situation could raise issues of inhuman treatment that can and should be prevented.

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