Visit to the Penitentiary No 13

On 21 October 2015, the Ombudsperson's Office received a petition from the detainee  P.V., who contended that throughout his detention in various cells of the Penitentiary No 13 from 29 July 2014 until present-day, he was subject to inhuman and degrading treatment.

On 27 October 2015, Mihail Cotorobai – the Ombudsperson, together with the employees of the Office – Gheorghe Bosii and Iurie Dubenco, went to see the cell in which the detainee was being detained at that moment in time. The goal of the visit was to check the conditions of detention in the cell in which the detainee stayed at that moment in time.

Considering the findings arrived to during the visit, and in order to improve the situation of the detainee P.V. and of the other detainees staying in the cell concerned, as well as to guarantee the observance of the constitutional right to physical and psychological safety, the Ombudsperson recommended to improve the situation of P.V. and of the other detainees in the cell concerned as a matter of priority, and to provide to every detainee the space foreseen according to legal norms – i.e. 4m2 . The cell in question was only as large as to host no more than 2-3 detainees. Other recommendations were to provide power in all living areas during the day, by taking into account the specificity of the living areas, and that some cells are at semi-basement level, and thus not enough day-light enters the cells; to assess the present-day inventory, and to provide to all detainees of the Penitentiary No 13 clean mattresses, pillows and bedspreads; to take measures with regards to the building of a cell ventilation system; to isolate the water closets; to take organizational measures in order to prohibit smoking inside the cells.

The Penitentiary No 13 was visited periodically as part of the activity carried out through the Torture Prevention Mechanism. Thus, in 2008 4 visits were paid, in 2011 – 19 visits; in 2012 – 5 visits; in 2013 – 4 visits; in 2014, the employees of the Ombudsperson's Office paid as many as 9 visits.

The Penitentiary No 13 was visited 4 times by the delegations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): CPT visited in 1998 from 11 to 21 October; in 2001 – from 10 to 22 June; in 2004 – form 20 to 30 September. The last visit CPT paid was in September 2015. After the visits by CPT, the Government of the Republic of Moldova was submitted a set of recommendations meant to improve the situation of the detainees in the Penitentiary No 13, their goal being to avoid running into practical conflicts. At this moment in time, the Ministry of Justice created a working group focused on settling issues with regards to the improvement of living conditions, as well with regards to the implementation of an effective remedy that would allow for the compensation of the damages caused by the violation of the right enshrined in Article 3 of ECHR – detention in inhuman or degrading conditions.