Kre­j­cir gains im­prove­ments in prison con­di­tions

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - SHAIN GERMANER

RADOVAN Kre­j­cir has been given ac­cess to vis­i­tors, im­me­di­ate med­i­cal treat­ment, priv­i­leged con­sul­ta­tions with his lawyers, ex­er­cise, and the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply to study law next year.

The dras­tic im­prove­ment in his prison con­di­tions has come about only with the as­sis­tance of a 25-year-old can­di­date at­tor­ney to ad­vise him. This week, the Czech fugi­tive man­aged to con­vince the High Court in Joburg his pre­vi­ous prison con­di­tions were “cruel and in­hu­mane”, prompt­ing an or­der in­sist­ing his all-around treat­ment be im­proved.

Kre­j­cir has spent about four years in cus­tody, his first con­vic­tion aris­ing in Au­gust 2015 for drug deal­ing and kid­nap­ping, ul­ti­mately gar­ner­ing an ef­fec­tive prison sen­tence of 35 years.

How­ever, over the last two years he has claimed he is be­ing tor­tured in prison through de facto soli­tary con­fine­ment, an in­abil­ity to ac­cess his court doc­u­ments, med­i­cal at­ten­tion and most re­cently, be­ing de­prived of ba­sic ameni­ties.

Thus far, he has launched more than a dozen ap­pli­ca­tions at numerous courts, through a se­ries of le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, with only vary­ing suc­cess.

But af­ter a se­ries of le­gal pay­ment dis­putes – re­port­edly due to an in­abil­ity to bring money into the coun­try from the Czech Re­pub­lic – he has been forced to rep­re­sent him­self in the ma­jor­ity of his crim­i­nal and civil cases.

Per­haps in a bid to per­form bet­ter in court, Kre­j­cir has, in his pa­pers against the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices, claimed he wants to reg­is­ter to study law through Unisa next year.

On Thurs­day, Kre­j­cir ap­peared at the High Court in Joburg with his usual R5-wield­ing se­cu­rity con­tin­gent. He has been placed un­der heavy ob­ser­va­tion af­ter a se­ries of al­leged plots to es­cape from po­lice cus­tody.

But this time, Kre­j­cir did not sit in the dock, in­stead ar­gu­ing his case in the sec­tion as­signed for le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Kre­j­cir has spent the past two months ar­gu­ing his ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion, as­sisted by can­di­date at­tor­ney for FJ Co­hen At­tor­neys, Jeff Men­del­son, to draft his pa­per­work.

The pair have spent that time putting to­gether a port­fo­lio to present to Judge In­grid Op­per­man de­tail­ing Kre­j­cir’s cur­rent con­di­tions. Ac­cord­ing to Kre­j­cir:

* He was kept away from all other pris­on­ers for a pe­riod of over 230 days.

* De­nied ac­cess to a urol­o­gist for a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion, as well as an orthopaedic sur­geon, psy­chi­a­trist and gen­eral physi­cian.

* Be­tween July and Au­gust was only given two show­ers, the re­main­der of the time pro­vided only with a bucket of wa­ter.

* Pre­vented from writ­ing let­ters to his fam­ily, us­ing li­brary and gym fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cess to recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties in the sec­tion of Leeuwkop Prison where he is cur­rently in­car­cer­ated, among other com­plaints.

The lengthy de­lays in the ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion came about af­ter the State and Kre­j­cir re­quested re­ports from four psy­chol­o­gists, which later showed his con­tin­ued men­tal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion was due to the na­ture of his cur­rent in­car­cer­a­tion.

On Thurs­day, Judge Op­per­man, who agreed Kre­j­cir’s con­di­tions were in­hu­mane, or­dered that Kre­j­cir was en­ti­tled to be kept among at least four other pris­on­ers in his unit, ac­cess to all of his le­gal doc­u­ments across his var­i­ous cases, ac­cess to the pre­vi­ously men­tioned doc­tors, and an ed­u­ca­tion­al­ist who would as­sist in his ap­pli­ca­tion to study next year.

He was also granted the right to non-con­tact vis­its, pur­chases from the prison kiosk, legally priv­i­leged con­sul­ta­tions with his le­gal team, mu­sic, ex­er­cise, li­brary fa­cil­i­ties, a photo al­bum, let­ters and cards from his fam­ily, ac­cess to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes, the church chap­lin, among other ba­sic pris­oner rights.

How­ever, his at­tempts to gain ac­cess to Skype to have video calls with his fam­ily, re­turn of con­fis­cated items from his cell and to pre­vent trans­fer to another prison were sub­se­quently de­nied.

Yes­ter­day, Men­del­son – who was de­lighted at the suc­cess­ful or­der – said the Kemp­ton Park Mag­is­trate’s Court had also en­dorsed the rul­ing, as Kre­j­cir had been ap­pear­ing on his ex­tra­di­tion case.

Mean­while, Kre­j­cir’s trial for the al­leged mjur­der of sus­pected Bed­ford­view drug king­pin, Sam Issa, con­tin­ues later this month.

Radovan Kre­j­cir when he ap­peared at the Palm Ridge Mag­is­trate’s Court ear­lier. He has won some con­ces­sions on the is­sue of prison con­di­tions.

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