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Disabled prisoner serving his term in poor sanitary-hygiene conditions urges for early release

30.03.2017

 
Lana Giorgidze

Grave injury of the spine (he is wheelchair user, cannot move independently), mielopatia, post-traumatic paraplegia, dysfunction of the minor pelvis, curvature of the nose bone, chronic Hepatitis C, mycosis of the foot, onikomycosis, psychic disorder – it is list of the sick convicted S.S. He has been in prison # 18 for 2, 5 years already.

Because of grave health conditions, the convicted petitioned the joint standing commission of the Ministry of Healthcare and Ministry of Corrections with the request to early-release him from prison term. On October 5, 2016, he received negative answer from the commission.

“According to the medical documents, which were sent to the commission, the convicted person has several grave diseases. The commission studied the provided documents; they invited expert-neurologist, who in fact issued diagnosis on the applicant. Considering that, the health conditions of the patient meet the criteria listed in the Article 6 of the Decree # 01-6/N passed by the Minister of Healthcare on February 15, 2013,” the deputy minister of healthcare Zaza Sopromadze wrote in his conclusion.

The commission also studied the reasonability of the remaining punishment term of S.S and made final decision based on the information they received from the Ministry of Corrections and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“In accordance to the provided information, the convicted S.S is serving his imprisonment term under Article 143 (3) Paragraph 3 and Article 120 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. Considering the manner, method and motive of the committed crime, as well as personal character of the convicted, it is unreasonable to early release S.S from his prison term,” the conclusion of the permanent commission reads.

In 2014, the sick-nurse of S.S stole 3 000 GEL from his house. S.S reported to police about the crime but after investigation they said the woman had taken the money, which she had earned for taking care of S.S but he had not paid. 

“S.S went to the house of the sick-nurse by adapted car, called her and asked to accompany him to the police office. S.S took the woman to the police station where she said S.S had brought her to the police station against her will. The police charged S.S under Article 143 (3) of the Criminal Code of Georgia, that is human trafficking, misuse of the service of the victim,” Eka Kobesashvili, lawyer of Human Rights Center, told www.humanrights.ge. 

In 2014, S.S was sentenced to 7-years imprisonment. He has served 2,5 years in the jail hospital # 18. 
“I have conclusion of the expert, which proves that I am sick with grave and palliative diseases. The prosecutor’s office, MIA and Ministry of Corrections have been violating my rights from the very first day of my arrest; in addition, the Ministry of Healthcare also violates my rights,” S.S wrote in his letter to Human Rights Center. 
S.S cannot walk independently. According to the convicted person, he has spent more than 2 years in unbearable sanitary-hygiene conditions in prison that is equal to ill-treatment. S.S does not have care-taker, so he has to clean himself only by wet pipes.
On March 23, during the press-conference, the lawyer of Human Rights Center called on the Joint Standing Commission of the Ministries of Correction and Healthcare to make decisions only based on the Article 74 of the Criminal Code of Georgia and stop the negative practice, which contradicts the law.

“Early release of the convicted, who have grave health problems, is still a problem in the Georgian penitentiary system. Joint standing commission of the Ministries of Healthcare and Corrections makes decisions based on the information provided by law enforcement bodies. The commission abuses its power and violates the resolution and normative act, which states that if the disease of the convicted person is one of those on the list of grave and incurable diseases, the convicted person shall be early released from prison,” Eka Kobesashvili said.
In accordance to the Article 74 of the CCG, joint standing commission of the Ministry of Corrections and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, may release from punishment a person who, before or after committing the crime, becomes seriously ill, which prevents him/her from serving the sentence.

The standing commission acts in accordance to the resolution of the commission and the list of grave and incurable diseases approved by the decree of the Minister of Healthcare and Social Welfare that may become the ground for the early-release of the sick prisoners.

The lawyer of Human Rights Center said the joint commission abuses its power, when they request information about the sick inmates from the MIA and chief prosecutor’s office and makes decisions based on the provided information. 

Humanrights.ge contacted the chairman of the joint commission Zaza Sopromadze to request clarifications about their decision, where they did not take the grave health problems of the convicted person into account. He responded via email, and sent the text from the justification of the commission’s decision.

The lawyer Eka Kobesashvili said in accordance to all legislative acts, the joint commission shall evaluate the reasonability of the unserved imprisonment term due to health conditions of the patient and shall not rely on the information provided by any law-enforcement body.

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