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Brutality of Prison Service officers. Regional Prison Service chief reports beating to prosecutors

The HFHR has received the response of a regional director of the Prison Service to its intervention letter about a case of an inmate physically assaulted by a prison guard. The director wrote that he had sent to a prosecutor’s office an official criminal complaint against the guard allegedly responsible for the beating and that a disciplinary action had been initiated against the guard.

Beating at prison’s medical unit

Let us remind our readers that the HFHR received a letter from unnamed Prison Service officers, who informed about an inmate having been beaten by their fellow guard at a prison’s medical facility. The incident was evidenced by a CCTV recording that showed an officer punching an inmate who was lying on a couch. Having seen the recording, the prison governor and local head of security operations allegedly downplayed the incident.

HFHR intervenes

On 3 August 2017, the Foundation intervened, bringing the case to the attention of a Regional Director of Prison Service. The HFHR referred in particular to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which unconditionally prohibits torture and other forms of maltreatment, irrespectively of circumstances and a victim’s own behaviour. The Foundation also pointed to the obligation to enforce a penalty in a way that is humanitarian and respects the human dignity of convicted persons.

Prison Service regional director answers

On 29 August 2017, the Foundation received the response of the regional director, according to which he ordered to reopen the internal inquiry into the incident. As the inquiry established, the officers involved confirmed that coercive measures had been used against the inmate and had been hit in the process. Findings of the inquiry persuaded the director to file an official criminal complaint to a prosecutor’s office on 24 July 2017, in which he reported a possibility that the officer in question might commit a criminal offence. Furthermore, a disciplinary action was launched against the officer.

“We are glad to hear that the incident was notified to law enforcement authorities although it should have happened earlier, when the director conducted the first internal inquiry”, comments Dr Piotr Kładoczny, Secretary of the HFHR Board. Coordinator of the Legal Intervention Programme Piotr Kubaszewski emphasises that state authorities are obliged to investigate all cases of mistreatment of prisoners. Apart from the prohibition of torture, Article 3 ECHR also establishes a procedural obligation to conduct an effective investigation and held perpetrators criminally responsible”, he explains.

To find out more about the case and our intervention, follow this link.

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