Compensation for inadequate placement and rape suffered in prison | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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15 February 2016

The HHC’s client, a young man, was placed in pre-trial detention in November 2007. In March 2008, he was transferred to the Bács-Kiskun County Penitentiary Institution for five days, where he was placed in a cell with nine other inmates, eight of whom being already convicted inmates, even though the law says that pre-trial detainees cannot be placed in the same cell with convicts. On the second night in the institution, the HHC’s client, who was numbed by the strong medicines received for his psychiatric diseases (a circumstance which was not considered by the penitentiary either), was raped by one of his cellmates. The related investigation could not establish the identity of the perpetrator. The man, represented by the HHC, subsequently launched a lawsuit against the penitentiary institution for compensation, in which the penitentiary argued that it was not able to respect placement and separation rules due to the overcrowding rate of over 200% in the penitentiary at the time of the offence, thus, it cannot be held liable for what happened. However, both the first instance court and, in February 2016, the second instance court ruled that overcrowding does not exempt the penitentiary from liability. The HHC’s client was awarded HUF 3 million of non-pecuniary damages, also with a view to the psychological expert’s opinion, stating that the rape suffered had serious consequences on the victim’s mental health and that he also tried to commit suicide.

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