Beatings, Deplorable Living Conditions at Bulgaria’s Boytchinovtsi Juvenile Prison - AFP
Agence France-Presse (AFP) has devoted a publication to the appalling living conditions and the complaints of repeated beatings at the Boytchinovtsi Correctional Home for juvenile prisoners.
The article, which is accompanied by a video, has reached German and Romanian media outlets.
The publication presents the situation at the correctional facility against the backdrop of harsh criticism on an EU level over Bulgaria’s poor performance in the sphere of providing decent living conditions for prisoners.
A correspondent of the news agency talks to inmates and the director of the correctional facility and representatives of human rights NGO the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC).
The probe was carried out after two alarming reports by human rights organizations, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and the European Committee against Torture (CPT), on the deplorable living conditions and the complaints of beatings at the Boytchinovtsi Correctional Home.
The report of the CPT was released on January 29, 2015 and Bulgaria was asked to respond within 3 months.
Prior to that, in December 2014, the BHC drew attention to the systematic use of physical violence against adolescent prisoners.
The Council of Europe also criticized the decrepit state of the building, the unsanitary living conditions at the site, and the disciplinary use of solitary confinement by the staff.
During the visit of AFP journalists, only one prisoner complained of violence, taking into account that the inmates were interviewed in the presence of guards.
Mimi Tsochevova, director of the correctional facility, argued that she had never received complaints of ill-treatment.
BHC expert Zhenya Ivanova, however, claimed that the prisoners had been threatened into keeping silent about the beatings by the staff of the facility.
Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry has launched an investigation into the matter.
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