Young man’s death increases concerns about the safety of extraditions to Romania

Concerns are being voiced in Brussels following reports that have just come in of the death of a 33-year old young man who died in prison after being extradited from the UK to Romania. The man cannot be named for legal reasons, but his lawyers have spoken about his serious health problems, which included schizophrenia and an amputated leg.

After being extradited from England, a 33-year-old man convicted of theft fell ill and died in a Romanian prison. He had serious health problems.

His legal team have explained that he was convicted in England for theft, then was extradited to Romania for another sentence received here, also for theft.  The theft in Romania was alleged to be from a shop where the mentally ill young man “thought he had seen the devil”. According to his lawyers, when he was admitted to the Rahova Prison Hospital, he received no treatment apart some sleeping pills.  It is understood that this deprivation of his medication led to respiratory failure.

“We tried to persuade them for over three days to administer the proper medication, while his health worsened. It wasn’t until the 28th of December that he was transferred to a public hospital”, his lawyer explained.  His legal team accuses the penitentiary employees of refusing to transfer him to the Nasta Hospital. Eventually, he was admitted to Nasta Hospital, but it was too late and, on January 2nd, his lawyers were notified that he had died.

The Rahova Prison has confirmed his death but they have so far failed to provide any more details about the case. This is not the first time that the Rahova Prison has been in the news over the death of inmates.  Dan Adamescu, 68, a millionaire businessman who owned one of Romania’s largest opposition newspapers, died in hospital on 24 January 2017 after contracting sepsis at Rahova Prison, where he was serving a four sentence for bribery.  The Romanian authorities continue to refuse to release his autopsy report.

Former Member of the European Parliament Nikki Sinclaire, who sat on both the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Committee On Women’s Rights And Gender Equality commented “This tragic case again highlights the need for concern about the welfare of detainees, especially those who are vulnerable, and who are extradited back to Romania, given the poor track record of the treatment of prisoners there”.

The issue of conditions in Romanian prisons, and extradition to Romania is attracting increasing interest in EU public policy circles. As recently as April 25th 2017 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Romania’s prisons as “inhumane and degrading”. The Brussels Press Club will host the launch of a new report on Justice and the Rule of Law in Romania at 11.00 am on Monday 22nd January. The Report is due to be published next week by Gary Cartwright the Publisher of EU Today.