Crowded, and aggrieved …
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2018 January 02 ( Tuesday ) 15:23:11
Unlike last years the presidential amnesty expected on the eve of the New Year and the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis, was not held in our country. Many inmates of penitentiary institutions had to meet a cheerful holiday in a narrow circle of their fellow inmates, without special mood, without champagne, domestic pilaf and salads.
Last week Germany announced a Christmas amnesty. About 2000 prisoners of German prisons were released home, to the family. A great gift for the holiday was received by prisoners in far-away Denmark. There, the other day near the city of Gundleslev, Storstrom prison was opened, which by international standards was recognized as the most comfortable prison in the world. According to the Daily Mail, about 135 million euros have been spent on the construction of the prison, which accommodates up to 250 prisoners.
The architect of the "most humane" in the world of prison stated that luxury apartments, which can hardly be compared with ordinary prison cells, are designed to create the most comfortable conditions for prisoners. According to the idea, this will help reduce the number of recidivists. Each "room" is equipped with a refrigerator, a 22-inch TV, a large window and a wardrobe, a desk with a lamp and a private bathroom and a comfortable bed. The area of one cell is about 40 square feet (one square foot is the equivalent of 0.09290304 square meters - ed.) The penitentiary also has spacious common rooms, kitchens where prisoners can cook food, as well as a church, a sports ground and a hall.
Meanwhile, the situation with the conditions of detention of prisoners in Azerbaijan was discussed during the training seminar "Interaction of public and state mechanisms for monitoring places of deprivation of liberty", held in late December 2017 as part of the project "Strengthening the role of civil society in ensuring the socio-economic rights of vulnerable groups population ". The project is implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRC) with the financial support of the European Union.
According to the head of the HRC Eldar Zeynalov, the conditions of detention of convicts in Azerbaijani prisons still leave much to be desired. This is evidenced by the results of recent monitoring of correctional facilities in the regions of the country. In many such institutions, the living space per prisoner does not meet the norm, there is a need for the construction of prisons in the regions. But the solution to this problem depends on funding.
"In our country, the standard of living space has not changed since 2000, when the standard was approved: 4 square meters per prisoner and 5 square meters per sick prisoner. But this does not mean that this rule is universally observed. The monitoring showed that in many prisons, there is no more than 2.5 square meters of living space per prisoner. These are negligible. Although in some institutions the conditions reach a national standard. The European standard is six square meters per person - is observed only in the new Sheki prison and the new tuberculosis corps for life-sentenced prisoners," the human rights activist pointed out.
According to him, talking about overcrowded penitentiary institutions this does not mean a dream and a toilet in turn, rather than providing a person with the required 4 square meters. There are beds for everyone, in some places even the capacity limit has not been exhausted, but there are about 3 square meters per person. The new prisons under construction provide not the national standard (4 sq.m.), but the European one (6-7 sq.m.) Unfortunately, the modernization of the infrastructure of penitentiary institutions is very slow.
One of the reasons for the crowding in prisons is the criminal situation in Azerbaijan, the growth of crime. According to official data, more than 24 thousand people are serving their sentences in prisons today. In society, the opinion prevails that prisoners could be significantly less if civil activists were not put on trumped-up charges and the courts did not "stamp" accusatory verdicts, regardless of the gravity of the crime. In addition, we are imprisoned for a minor offense.
"Every criminal case is an excuse for taking bribes by policemen. And every prisoner is a "feeder" for the warders. In the penitentiary system, there are workers who cooperate with prisoners. They bring the prisoners alcohol, drugs, even mobile phones. It's strange, no one is punished for domestic violence, but for a bottle of stolen vodka can be imprisoned. Unlike the West, Azerbaijan does not practice an alternative punishment for minor offenses. Apparently, this is not beneficial to law enforcement agencies," Zeynalov said.