Last Thursday, November 28, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg called on the Czech Government to comment on the situation of a Japanese national who has been detained in the Foreigners Detention Facility for almost five months. The court did so on the initiative of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), which legally represents the applicant. The applicant suffers from serious mental and physical health issues which tend to further deteriorate as a result of the detention. According to available medical reports, her life may be at present at risk.
The woman was placed in the Detention Center for Foreigners in July this year when she could present a valid travel document to the police upon request. Already at that time, she probably suffered from a long-term eating disorder. As a result of the detention-related stress, she began to lose weight rapidly. She has been later diagnosed with severe malnutrition and other severe mental health issues. In July 2019 she has been shortly hospitalized. Subsequently repeated examinations confirmed the negative impact of the detention environment on her physical and mental health.
The European Court of Human Rights is now asking the Czech government whether it would possible to place the applicant a non-custodial environment where she could receive further treatment. The Court is also inquiring how did the police handle the repeated requests for release submitted by the applicant with the help of the Organization for Aid to Refugees.
Martin Rozumek, director of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), commented: “We have repeatedly alerted the police on the deteriorating health status of the applicant, but without any success. By law, the police are obliged to regularly verify the health status of a detained foreigner and to check whether it is compatible with further detention. That is especially in the case of vulnerable foreigners such as the applicant.”
He added: “In accordance with the current jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, if the applicant we are representing would happen to suffer irreversible harm to her health while in detention, the Czech Republic would be responsible for her condition. We sincerely hope that the Ministry of the Interior will review its position towards detention of vulnerable foreigners in the future.”
The court gave the Czech government a deadline to comment by Wednesday, December 4, 2019. According to the current police decision, the applicant is to remain in detention until at least this date. However, it is possible that despite her serious medical condition the detention might be further extended.
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