The representative of Oliy Majlis for human rights (Ombudsman) Ulugbek Muhammadiyev said what prisoners in penitentiaries mainly complained about during the pandemic.
“… We carried out monitoring in penal colonies even in pandemic conditions. Our staff visited penitentiaries in special clothing, maintaining sanitary safety.
In the process, meetings were held with more than 4,000 prisoners during the year. We listened to their appeals. Many inmates said that their relatives were having a hard time coming to see them, they asked us to help them move to facilities near their homes. I tried to find a solution to this issue together with the officials.
Some inmates asked for help to recover their health. We considered their appeals and helped them to be treated in hospitals in Tashkent.
In 2020 alone, we conducted more than 70 monitoring. The activities of not only penitentiary institutions but also closed institutions, in general, were studied. We visited different hospitals, separate treatment facilities were set up to treat coronavirus patients during the pandemic. We studied the conditions there on the basis of citizens’ appeals.
During the visit, we got acquainted with the conditions created for patients and gave our recommendations to protect the rights of not only citizens treated there, but also medical staff.
For example, we also received complaints that medical workers were not paid on time, and later these issues were resolved. We have submitted our reports to the parliament on the results of our monitoring,” Ulugbek Muhammadiyev said.
The Ombudsman noted that relatives of the convicts and their lawyers were dissatisfied with the lack of meetings during the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, meetings of prisoners with their relatives were limited. Many citizens, who are relatives of the convicts, were dissatisfied and appealed to the Ombudsman. There have also been complaints that lawyers were unable to see their clients. But we explained to them the conditions, that if one prisoner becomes infected, it will spread to all other inmates.
In agreement with the heads of penitentiaries, prisoners were given the opportunity to talk with relatives by telephone at the height of the pandemic. Moreover, conditions were created for lawyers to meet with their clients. Due to the fact that the incidence of coronavirus in Uzbekistan has decreased to a minimum, short and long-term meetings have recently been allowed.
Meanwhile, healthcare system experts say there could be another new wave. So we need to be ready for this wave as well. We have also agreed with the Interior Ministry and the heads of penitentiaries to create better opportunities for meetings with family members of prisoners if there is a new wave, for example, to extend the time for talking behind the window or on the phone. Therefore, there will be no problem in this regard,” Kun.uz correspondent quoted the Ombudsman as saying.