Crowdedness in detention places is one of the most worrisome aspects of the situation in detention institutions in the Republic of Moldova. Of the 6,700 detainees held in 17 penitentiaries, more than 4,900 stay in areas under the minimum allowed limit of four square meters, shows the monitoring report on the situation of torture and inhuman treatment in penitentiary institutions for 2019-2020 that was presented by the Institute for Democracy of Comrat in a news conference at IPN.
According to Alexandru Zubco, head of the Torture Prevention Section of the Ombudsman’s Office, the lack of sufficient areas is considered a degrading condition during detention. Besides, most of the detention institutions do not ensure medical care and there is a high rate of violence between detainees.
The public reports of the National Administration of Penitentiaries show that in 2019 the institution received over 1,100 complaints about the observance and ensuring of human rights in detention. The Ombudsman’s Office the same year received over 850 complaints from detainees. Most of them referred to improper conditions, disagreement with court decisions, lack of hygiene and medical assistance, stated Alexandru Zubco.
Also, three centers opened in Chisinau, Tiraspol and Comrat in the framework of the project “Say NO to Torture in Moldova All Together: Civil Society against Torture” in 2017-2020 recorded over 1,300 complaints from potential victims of torture and relatives of these. More than 240 are real victims of these actions.
The situation of torture combating, according to the data of the Prosecutor General’s Office, shows that things in 2019 improved compared with the previous years. In 2017, there were 49 criminal cases, in 2019 – only 13, with five persons being penalized. But the situation worsened as regards inhuman and degrading treatment. The number of identified cases rose from over 400 in 2017 to 833 in 2019, with 51 criminal cases being started. The large number is due to the fact that the prosecutors stepped up their efforts in dealing with complaints from victims or those who consider themselves victims of such forms of ill-treatment, said Alexandru Zubco.
The monitoring report on the situation of torture and inhuman treatment in penitentiary institutions for 2019-2020 contains information from open sources, statistical data presented by public institutions, findings and recommendations of European and international institutions. The monitoring group, during two years, studied the public information on the field and in the office, covering the situation in the Transnistrian region.
The project “Say NO to Torture in Moldova All Together: Civil Society against Torture” is implemented by the Institute for Democracy (Comrat), in partnership with the National Institute for Women of Moldova (Chisinau) and the Media Center of Tiraspol, with support from the EU.