Violation of the rights of imprisoned persons at IEPD Lezhë

On June 22, 2016, the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) conducted a monitoring mission in the Institution for the Execution of Penal Decisions, Lezhë, to review some complaints received from convicts. The monitoring produced some problems and violations of rights, of which we think the following are worth mentioning:

1. The severe overcrowding situation in contravention of requirements of articles 23 and after of Law no. 8328, dated 16.04.1998, “On the rights and treatment of persons convicted in prisons and detainees,” amended, and article 30, of CMD no. 437, dated 20.05.2015, “On the approval of the General Regulations of Prisons,” with regard to the space and space volume per each imprisoned person. According to data, overcrowding reached 215 persons above the prison’s treatment capacity. According to Rule 10 of the UN Revised Standard Minimal Rules for the Treatment of Convicts, space available to convicts, including the premises where they sleep, should meet all requirements with regard to the conditions for their time in prison and particularly airing per cubic meter, the minimal per capita space, lighting, heating and ventilation.

As a result of this overcrowding, the treatment conditions may lead to cruel and degrading treatment of imprisoned persons.

2. The health service was incomplete as one of the posts of one of the doctors of the sector was vacant and the other doctor had been appointed only two days before. As a result of the absence of medical personnel for a long time, especially in the conditions of overcrowding, the imprisoned persons did not receive the required medical assistance, in violation of the provisions of article 33 of the above Law.

3. In the Observation-Separation Section, there were two imprisoned persons who claimed they had reached the deadline of the disciplinary measure “Exclusion from all joint activities up to 20 days” and were still being kept there after the expiry of the deadline. AHC verified the above claims and it resulted that one of the two citizens (F.Xh.) was kept in the Section although the deadline of the disciplinary measure had expired 12 days before, in violation of article 6 of the Law, with regard to the individual limitation of rights and the General Regulations of Prisons.

Also, other prisoners were kept in this Section since more than 6 months while according to articles 13 and 29 of the Regulations, persons recently admitted to prison, may remain there for a period of no more than 10 days.

4. The three imprisoned persons that had been given this disciplinary measure, contacted by AHC, had not been given a copy of the decision on the taken disciplinary measure, in contravention of provisions in article 54/1 of the Law and article 120, item 5, of the Regulations, thus depriving them form the right to appeal the disciplinary measure (article 54/2 of the Law).

With regard to the above, AHC suggests to the General Directory of Prisons to undertake immediate measures for the rigorous implementation of the law and, for the persons responsible for the found violations, to take the appropriate administrative measures in order to guarantee the rights of persons deprived of their liberty.

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