Czech mobster Radovan Krejcir fears he will die in prison, as his mental and physical health continues to deteriorate behind bars. File picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla
Czech mobster Radovan Krejcir fears he will die in prison, as his mental and physical health continues to deteriorate behind bars. File picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

Radovan Krejcir fears he will die in prison as his health continues to worsen, says lawyer

By Sameer Naik Time of article published May 1, 2021

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Johannesburg - Czech mobster Radovan Krejcir fears he will die in prison, as his mental and physical health continues to deteriorate behind bars.

This is what his lawyer, Nastasja Otrebski claims, following a visit to her client at Leeuwkop maximum security prison this week.

While Otrebski couldn’t go into detail regarding his health condition, she said Krejcir’s health had worsened over the last few months.

She claims that Krejcir’s is being denied medical treatment at the maximum security prison.

“He is not getting medical treatment because it is either denied or ignored when he requests for him to see a doctor or to be taken to a hospital. If he is taken to the hospital, which only happens when a court intervenes, if the court even does, he is barely looked at and he does not know the outcome of his results.

“Recently, he was taken to the hospital after many months of requesting to go. He was barely examined and has requested for his results, which to date, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has ignored.

“They have done this previously where there was something seriously wrong and they failed to disclose to him his conditions which resulted in Radovan going to court and forcing the DCS to disclose his medical condition.

“When he does get to see a medical practitioner, his consultations are not in private. It’s extremely embarrassing for him. He is purposely celled next to a boiler which releases a lot of black smoke into his cell and that has caused respiratory problems.”

The 52-year-old was convicted of attempted murder, kidnapping and dealing in drugs in 2015 and was sentenced to 35 years in jail.

He has spent the last few years at Leeuwkop prison.

Otrebski claims her clients' conditions at the prison are “very poor”.

“His fundamental rights have been severely infringed and it seems like no one cares or no one is willing to do anything about it. There are nine different court orders which have been ignored by the DCS.

“He is not allowed access to his legal representatives which results in them withdrawing due to lack of instructions. If by some miracle he is allowed to speak or consult with his attorneys, they are useless because they are not privileged. This results in the many reasons he has not been given a fair trial.”

She has rubbished claims that her client has been receiving “luxury treatment” in prison.

“He has just been asking for his fundamental rights to be protected which has not been done. The DCS say he is lying, and it is not true, and that they treat him equally. This is a blatant lie. So, unfortunately, Radovan is not doing well.”

Otrebski claims her client is suffering inhumane conditions.

“He is constantly in solitary confinement which is contrary to various court orders and medical reports as well as the law. He is not able to socialise with anyone. The size of his cell is way below the minimum standards. It has to be 5.5 meter square which is not the case.

“He is left in a tiny cell in which he does not even have access to a basin or to drinking water. His light in his cell is on 24/7. He does not have access to a good night's sleep. Officials laugh at him when he asks for the lights to be switched off.

“He has no form of privacy because he has a mirror on the ceiling to watch his every move. He cannot go to the toilet without being laughed at. There is no natural light, nor proper ventilation.

“He also does not have access to reading material like other inmates, including the criminal procedure act, the correctional service act, case law, books or even my legal documents because it is then removed.”

Otrebski says her client is not asking for preferential treatment in prison, but rather to be treated equally like every other inmate at Leeuwkop.

“Other inmates can walk around the prison, they can talk to each other, he is not allowed to speak to anyone. He has nothing to keep him entertained. He is just stuck in a cage.

“When he is taken to court he cannot speak to anyone and he is chained like an abused dog. All he is asking for is to be treated with some form of dignity. He has no family here to come and see him, or check up on him.”

Otrebski says she has discussed her clients “inhumane conditions” with DCS officials on several occasions, however to date nothing has been done.

Meanwhile, the Department of Correctional Services have labelled the accusations “untrue and baseless”.

“We are getting accustomed to these allegations levelled by those reporting to be representing inmate Radovan Krejcir, said spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.

“The Department of Correctional Services is mandated to contribute towards the maintenance and protection of a just, peaceful and safe society by enforcing court-imposed sentences, detaining offenders in safe custody under humane conditions.

“As a result, the responsibility for Correctional Services is not to punish offenders, but first and foremost, to correct offending behaviour in order to facilitate the achievement of rehabilitation.”

Nxumalo also rubbished claims that Krejcir has been denied time with his legal representatives.

“Inmate Radovan Krejcir has been engaging with legal representatives. What was however denied was when Radovan Krejcir wanted to telephonically consult with a legal representative based in the Czech Republic. This was denied due to a few reasons. A legal practitioner must lodge proof of his or her identity and status as a legal practitioner at the request of the Head of the Correctional Centre.

“Such consultation must take place only between 8am and 3.30pm and the consultation must take place in sight but out of earshot of a correctional official. Allowing an inmate to consult telephonically without even having proof that he is talking to a lawyer will be a breach of policy.

Nxumalo also disputed claims that Krejcir has been in solitary confinement.

“At no point has Radovan Krejcir been a subject of solitary confinement as we no longer have such cells in South Africa. Krejcir is using a cell that has been in use before in Leeuwkop and he has to be monitored, without stripping him of his privacy rights, in order to ensure that he is safe and protected.”

He added that Krejcir was being treated like any other prisoner at Leeuwkop.

“Radovan Krejcir is an inmate and shall be treated as per the prescribed measures. Inmates can only keep what is legally permissible in their cells and excess items must be removed when not required. The Centre has never removed his legal papers nor denied him to prepare for his ongoing trial.

“Such allegations were levelled before against the previous Head of Centre. He remains classified as a high-risk inmate. This will necessitate security measures that are applicable to this specific category of inmates. These measures comply with the Correctional Services Act as all inmates are treated humanely.”

The Saturday Star

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