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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Switzerland: prison guards let a prisoner die laughing


The guards of the Swiss prison of Bochuz, Vaud, Switzerland, let a prisoner die after he had set fire to his mattress. For hours they ignored him, making insulting commentaries and clear statements in favor of letting him die. They even prevented a rescue team from accessing arguing they were too few to control the prison.

Even more painfully, the prisoner, Skander Vogt, aged just 30, had been sentenced in 1999 to only 20 months of prison for minor crimes but had been kept arrested on a clause of the Swiss law that allows indefinite prison for those estimated to "compromise public security". Go figure: sentenced to 20 months (here you would not even go to prison at all) and jailed for 11 years!

Vogt had in the past climbed once to the prison roof demanding a dentist because he had a terrible tooth ache and the prison would not provide him one. He was held in isolation and would not be allowed to leave his cell unless fully chained. His only consolation a radio had been conficated by prison authorities the day before he set fire to the mattress in protest.

They let him die laughing.

What kind of democracy is this? What happened to this person's most basic human rights?


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Hard for me to criticize the Swiss when American prison conditions are often so much worse. Metro-Denver (with a population of about 2.5 million) has several prison deaths from suicides and guard indifference every year.

Swiss prisons may have abuses, but the Swiss do a much better job at harm reduction rather than prison for drug addicts, and generally do a better job of limiting incarceration. The Swiss example of moderation is particularly notable because it is less ethnically homogeneous than much of Europe.

Maju said...

I really don't care about comparisons between Hitler and Stalin, so to say. The case is that the human rights of this man were smashed until he killed himself... while the guards laughed. The case is that we are experiencing in all the West a return to Fascism under a formal "democracy" blanket. That's what worries me.