The Protector of Citizens joined as a remote guest in the Morning Program “Probudi se” on NOVA S TV.
During the visit to the District Prison in Belgrade, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, talked with the teacher of acting, Mr. Miroslav Aleksić, who has been imprisoned since mid-January on the charges of sexual assault and harassment, which is why his lawyer contacted the Protector. Are there any elements of endangering his rights, this is our question this morning for the Ombudsman Mr. Zoran Pašalić. Good morning, thank you for speaking for “Probudi se”. The talk with Mr. Miroslav Aleksić followed a complaint by his lawyer. What is it that the lawyer and the defendant complained about?
Primarily, visit to the District Prison in Belgrade, or as it is also known to the citizens - detention unit in Bačvanska Street is one of the Protector of Citizens’ regular activities. Then, my colleague Ms. Nataša Tanjević and I talked with the detainees about the conditions of their detention, and among other things, we talked with Mr. Aleksić to see the conditions under which he, as well as other detainees, is in detention. We also discussed his lawyer’s, Mr. Zoran Jakovljevic’s, complaint which refers not to conditions in detention, as press reported it, but to the court’s activities, specifically the judge for preliminary proceedings. What is the problem is the fact that…
What did they complain about, Mr. Pašalić?
Please, let me finish. We cannot control either the court or the prosecution, so regarding the activities in this respect, we’ll monitor the entire course of the proceedings, and we will certainly monitor the conditions Mr. Aleksić is in.
Now let me ask you what precisely did he complain about? What complaints did they have, in what way did the court not treat Mr. Aleksić adequately?
Mr. Zoran Jakovljević, Mr. Aleksić 's lawyer, mainly complained about Article 210, actually that Article 210, paragraph 1.2, was not being taken fully as the Law specified it, and that is when a person is being detained, it is necessary to act urgently, in it is necessary to act urgently in order to make the conditions specified for ordering detention cease, in order for the person to be released.
What else did Mr. Aleksić say, did he go beyond the mentioned topics?
We talked about the conditions in detention. This part of the conversation which we had, and which was not brief at all as Mr. Aleksić is in special health condition… The conditions of his treatment are in question, that is, administering the necessary therapy, which is necessary in order to be able to live normally and function normally, that was mainly the subject of our talk. It was also the subject of talk with those who also have health problems in the detention unit in Bačvanska Street, because the part, where they are, is practically part of the hospital in Bačvanska Street, the prison hospital.
And whether you, when you found and what circumstances did you find, were their objections justified? So, what are the conditions in which, the mentioned Miroslav Aleksić, and other detainees are staying?
What I requested from the Prison Administration was to see the part that was not renovated, so the one that is about to be renovated in the coming months, because what was important to me is whether the accommodation was adequate regarding the norms that every prison unit needs to have, and that's the number of detainees in the cells, then the conditions of accommodation, hygiene, and what I emphasized, and those are the conditions of treatment if needed.
During the conversation, did Miroslav Aleksić look back to the threat to the presumption of innocence in public, was that part of his complaints?
We talked about it, but certainly the assumption, the presumption of innocence is not a question that he could pose to the Protector of Citizens because the Protector of Citizens, unfortunately, is not in a position to control the court administration and is not in a position to comment on it from the profession, legal profession. That’s what we have insisted on many times, and that is contained in some changes that are about to happen, the Law on the Protector of Citizens, when I say some changes I mean the new Law, to enable the Protector of Citizens and to assist when citizens are in these situations.
Based on everything what you have seen, whether you got the impression, that Mr. Aleksić is staying in some conditions… Whether the conditions in which he is staying different from the conditions of other detainees and are there elements of endangering his rights and will you, as an institution, react to everything you saw yesterday?
We always react when it comes to endangering the rights of detainees, convicted persons...
And what is it exactly that you will react tomorrow?
... and persons deprived of liberty. We are monitoring the situation in detention units, prisons. As for the specific answer to your question, the conditions in which Mr. Aleksicć is placed as a detainee do not differ from other conditions or from other detainees who are in Bačvanska Street.
Yes ... Thank you very much, Mr. Pašalić, for sharing the information with us this morning. Zoran Pašalić for "Probudi se". Thanks again.