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21.05.2000

A complaint of the personnel of a preliminary prison

   

Here we print the text of the complaint to the Kharkov Group for human rights protection form Donetsk. The text is published verbatim.

We, workers of the preliminary prison No.1 of the city of Donetsk, turn to you, since there is no other organization to turn to. We are devoid of the right to take part in the democratic parties, public movements and trade unions. There is no one to protect our rights and freedoms.

Under current conditions, when the public opinion is focused on the needs and requests of the special contingent (convicts), we decided to turn your attention to the conditions of work and existence of the least protested category of toilers.

We shall begin with the absence of elementary conditions of work:

The rules of internal service are rudely violated and we carry out the continuous observation over the special contingent without observing shifts for 12 hours on end, after which we work 4-5 extra unpaid hours, searching the contingent or attending special preparation, we have no breaks and no canteen.

Our posts are not equipped with johns and wash-basins which rudely violates sanitary and hygienic conditions of labor.

The guards who carry out their service on the posts of TB-infected, AIDS-infected and infected with VDs, are not given disinfectants. The disinfection of posts and cells is not carried out, so the personnel often catch TB. No money is given for treatment. The extra pay for harm is 10 grivnas for a month. We must search chambers where VD and TB patients are locked, and during searches the workers are not given any protection from infection. The posts of the sick are not isolated from the healthy.

Rations are given at increased price, with delays, by food products that are not necessary (juice). The bosses exert pressure on those who refuse to take rations, some were even sacked. Biased attitude, deprivation of personal additions to wages, ungrounded dismissals of the workers who do not agree with the administration, who are not afraid to speak about their democratic convictions, who try to protect human rights.

The personnel is forced to buy uniforms, photo-materials and stationery for their own money. Identification cards were illegally taken away, we lost the privilege for free transportation.

The money for our wages is sent to the prison in time, but the pay is given with delay.

The administration conceals facts of attacking the personnel by convicts. The attacked are fired by false reasons. We ask you to pay your attention to the above-listed violations in order to avoid massive acts of protest from our side. We ask you to regard our letter not as the demand to have a privileged position among the toilers of our country, since we understand the hard and complicated situation under modern economic conditions. Our letter is that of people in despair, we want to find lawful ways in solving our conflict situation. We believe that to satisfy our demands is possible by forces of the Penitentiary Directorate of Ukraine in the Donetsk region.

A sheet is appended with 174 signatures of the personnel.

PL commentary.
During the last 18 months the Kharkov Group for human rights protection received several letters from the workers of the services without which no society can exist. The first complaint came from the motor ambulance service of Kharkov district of Kharkov region. The doctors do not get their salary for months on end. The salaries are reduced, the service cars are shabby and their number is clearly insufficient for servicing a large district, most of the medical equipment is obsolete and imperfect.

We managed to assist the motor ambulance service a little: the pay arrears were partly shortened, but the most problems have unfortunately remained. When one reads such collective letters, one is desperate because of the impotence, since thousands of the diseased health and life depend on a hundred of the doctors.

This complaint is from the personnel of the preliminary prison. A lot of painful problems are listed in this letter, among which are the inevitable pay arrears, inadmissible labor conditions and so forth. We shall do our best to solve the problems of the penitentiary system personnel, because, after them, there are many citizens who are most of all deprived of any rights, whose existence depends on those who guard them. The state has no right to leave such people alone with their problems. Chaos and disorder make us cruel and indifferent to other people’s suffering. For, if a doctor can start to his patient after several hours after the call, then what is his professionalism worth? A stupefied from disorder prison controller cannot be cool-headed and just in executing his duties, the guard’s hardships may cause more suffering to his ‘customers’, still not proved guilty, but already incarcerated. Among the prison inmates there are many persons who entered prison because of the imperfection of our law and cruelty of relations in our society.

Kharkov Group for human rights protection turned with the letter to the General Prosecutor’s office asking to check the above complaint and employ proper measures.

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