Jail's short on Krejcir comforts, and Radovan's bawling about it
From a soft mattress to cold 'African' food, mobster whines that the authorities are trying to 'kill me'
The Correctional Services Department has convicted mobster Radovan Krejcir by the short and curlies and is twisting – and he is not liking it one bit.
In a litany of complaints, said to be contained in a letter to the Hawks, Krejcir voices his disapproval over the prison’s “African” food he is forced to eat; his too-small prison cell; poor medical attention; confiscation of computer equipment; no Skype time with his deported family; and a mattress inadequate for his sore back.
The letter will be handed over to the Hawks later this week.
The complaints were similar to concerns raised in a court application in April, which was struck off the urgent court roll. That application contained letters from the Czech Republic embassy and doctors, and sought to have Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha and Krejcir’s prison officials held in contempt of court for failing to adhere to seven previous court orders.
But Correctional Services spokesperson Logan Maistry dismissed the allegations and said previous court orders had not been ignored.Those orders, dating back to December 2017, compel the department to provide Krejcir with, among other things, computer equipment so he can prepare for his upcoming court cases, and an orthopaedic mattress and bed for a severe lower back condition.
Krejcir – who faces separate trials for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, fraud and attempted escape – is serving 35 years in the Leeuwkop maximum security prison for kidnapping and attempted murder.
In the letter, Krejcir demands his complaints be investigated.
“I believe the authorities’ conduct is designed to kill me or push me to the extent where my conditions are so unbearable that I will be forced to kill myself,” writes Krejcir to the Hawks.
“Despite being Eastern European, I have been forced to eat food that is always cold and usually reserved for an African diet ... the authorities do not wish to entertain the possibility of providing me with an appropriate diet as they rather watch me suffer.
“I have been deprived of adequate medical attention for numerous health issues that I have, including conditions relating to my respiratory system, reproductive system, undiagnosed lumps on my skin …”
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they were unaware of any letter which had been written to them.
Krejcir claims that, despite doctors’ recommendations that he be transported to court by ambulance because of his back condition, authorities transport him either in an armoured police vehicle or on a thin mattress in the back of panel van.
“My doctor has expressed concern that this could paralyse me.”In his court application, which was launched in April, Krejcir says prison officials violated his rights by not adhering to the United Nations minimum standards for prisoner treatment, which prescribe, among other things, how small a cell can be.
Krejcir alleges his cell is 3.9 square metres, below the international minimum of 5.5 square metres.
“I am kept like an animal ... no human deserves to be kept in a cage.”
Krejcir told Times Select the prison’s authorities had turned the prison into a concentration camp.
“Kokstad maximum security prison, where I was previously held, is like a holiday camp compared to here.
“I’m physically and mentally tortured. Staff ignore my requests for access to my lawyers and doctor. Raids on my cell are designed to stop me from preparing for my upcoming cases.”
But the department’s Maistry said Krejcir, who is a high-risk offender, had repeatedly brought applications before the courts, but none had been formally finalised.
“In one such application, Krejcir withdrew the matter and tendered costs. He later brought the same matter before a court in Pietermaritzburg, which is still pending. The same matter is also pending in Johannesburg.”
He said Krejcir was treated the same as all other offenders.
“He has been given access to a computer in a nearby office for his sole use. A monitor was placed in his cell for the purpose of accessing his court documents. Within a week, he was found using the device for other purposes; hence, it was removed from the cell.
“In line with his security classification, Krejcir is housed in a single cell, the same size as other cells within the prison. He was also provided a second cell nearby to store his court documents and other items.”Krejcir's attorneys, FJ Cohen Attorneys, said: “It’s not that we have withdrawn or stopped our applications. Each time the matter goes to court, the department requests us to not proceed with the applications, promising to assist Radovan. We agree because we are more interested in getting Radovan the necessary assistance than proceeding with the application to declare the department in contempt of court. The relief we seek is therefore made a court order without the department being declared in contempt of court.
“But, the department continuously fails to comply with the court orders. Our latest court action is to stop the department’s continued violation of the constitution.”
Maistry said the constitution and various international protocols stipulated compliance with basic human rights in a correctional centre environment.
“Inmates must at all times be treated as human beings entitled to all the rights of any citizen of our country. This logically excludes those rights necessarily curtailed through the act of incarceration, or those that are removed as a consequence of the individual’s behaviour.”
Krejcir's son, Dennis, said the family feared for their father’s health.
“The lack of daylight affects his eyesight. He has been in solitary confinement for 300 days and segregation for 900 days. We are not asking for special treatment for our father, just the law to be adhered to.”