Detainees resort to suicide owing to bad conditions in jails, expert

Three detainees committed suicide in penitentiaries in Moldova in the first half of last year, as against four cases in the corresponding period of 2019. There were reported seven suicide attempts in the first six months of 2020 and nine suicide attempts in the corresponding period the year before, Andrei Borshevschi, head of the Institute for Democracy based in Comrat, stated in a news conference at IPN. Among the reasons for which the prisoners resort to suicide are the poor detention conditions or transfer to another penitentiary where they do not want to stay.

According to data of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which were quoted by Andrei Borshevschi, the number of persons who were subject to inhuman or degrading treatment rose from 569 in 2017 to 833 in 2019. In 2017, there were 48 notifications of acts of torture, while in 2019 – only 13.

The head of the Institute for Democracy said the number of cases started over inhuman and degrading treatment is worrisome. In 2019, 28 criminal cases were started based on the 13 cases of notification of acts of torture and only 51 criminal cases based on the 833 cases of inhuman treatment. In 2019, only two persons were jailed for use of inhuman treatment. Nine persons were given suspended sentences, four were fined, while the charges against eight persons were dropped as were the criminal cases against seven persons.

Alexandru Zubco, head of the Torture Prevention Section of the Ombudsman’s Office, told the same news conference that the situation is slightly better concerning the police commitments to solve the problem of temporary detention of persons. Of all the police inspectorates, by the date the report was produced ten had new-type remand prisons renovated with European funds. The ombudspersons expressed their concern about to improper detention conditions, the situation at police inspectorates where persons are held for 72 hours in bad conditions, lack of medical assistance, access to the doctor and translator.

The 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, are implementing the project “Say NO to Torture in Moldova All Together: Civil Society against Torture”. Three centers for the provision of free legal and psychological assistance to the victims of torture were opened in Chisinau, Tiraspol and Comrat in the framework of this project.

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