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Prague backs Krejčíř demanding better conditions in foreign jail

ČTK |
18 July 2018

Prague, July 17 (CTK) - Czech diplomacy has backed Radovan Krejcir's demand for better conditions in the South African prison where he has stayed since 2013, now serving the 35-year sentence given to him for an attempted murder, kidnapping, torture and drug-trafficking in 2016, Czech Television (CT) said on Tuesday.

South African authorities have not officially reacted to the Czech initiative for the time being, CT said.

Krejcir turned to the officials of the Czech embassy in Pretoria, asking them for help, CT said, adding that this is for the first time since Krejcir's escape from Czechia in 2005 that he turned to Czech authorities.

"We have supported his demands for an improvement of the conditions in prison and have written a request to the prison management," Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova told CT.

"He really has too small a cell, which does not correspond to UN standards," Valentova added.

South African media reported about Krejcir's complaints about the prison conditions last week. Krejcir said the South African authorities were trying to kill him this way or create conditions to force him into a suicide.

He told local media that he was living in a cell with the area of 3.9 square metres, which does not correspond to the international standard of 5.5 square metres. He complained about a bad mattress devastating his back, about the poor prison meals and that his PC has been taken away from him and he thus cannot communicate with his family through Skype.

Krejcir, now 49, fled from the Czech Republic in 2005.

This March, the Prague High Court definitively imposed a cumulative sentence of 15 years on him for an attempt to illegally siphon off assets from the state-run Cepro fuel distributor and a number of other crimes.

In South Africa, he is still suspected of several crimes, including murders and has been also prosecuted for repeated attempts to escape from prison.

The Czech Republic has sought Krejcir's extradition by South Africa since 2007.

Earlier this year, a South African court decided that the extradition is possible. "Nevertheless, the final decision is up to the South African justice minister, who has not made any as yet, according to our information," Lucie Machalkova, from the Czech Justice Ministry's press department, told CT.

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