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Patients in detention must receive medical care!

04.10.2011   

 

Measures are planned on 6 October to highlight the grave situation in Ukrainian SIZO [pre-trial detention centres] where people with illnesses, sometimes very serious, are not given proper treatment or moved to the appropriate hospitals.

The Strategic Litigations Centre, Kharkiv Human Rights Group and  Centre for Human Rights Information will hold a protest / street performance between 11.30 and 12.00 outside the State Penitentiary Service at 81 Melnykova St.

All are cordially invited to take part and to support the initiative for public discussion of the right to medical treatment of people held in SIZO.

13.00  Roundtable: Medical Care in SIZO: What changes are needed?

As well as representatives of the Strategic Litigations Centre and Kharkiv Human Rights Group, we hope our invitations have been received and that the roundtable will be attended by the Human Rights Ombudsperson; the Government Representative at the European Court of Human Rights; representatives of the State Penitentiary Service; the Health Ministry; the Prosecutor General’s Office; the President’s Administration and the Verkhovna Rada.

There will also be people who have suffered from the failure of the authorities to provide medical care and their relatives.

During the roundtable there will be a photo and video display, as well as recordings and interviews with SIZO remand prisoners who are not receiving the proper medical assistance.

There will be discussion of the changes needed to legislation to improve the situation.

The problem is indeed very serious, and for many remand prisoners, who we would stress have not been convicted of any crime, it can be one of life or death.

The investigation can drag on for years, and there have been cases where a person was held in a SIZO, without a court ruling, for up to 12 years.

Over the first 6 months of this year the mortality rate in penal institutions under the State Penitentiary Service was double that for the same period last year.

The medical units in SIZO, as well as in penal institutions, are a part of the system of execution of punishments, the doctors hold military rank and obey the administration’s orders. Problems therefore arise with obtaining an unbiased and well-founded diagnosis for a remand prisoner who is ill, as well as with insisting on their immediate hospitalization and obtaining urgent medical assistance where needed. 

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