Krejcir gains improvements in prison conditions
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.