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By Jabulile Mbatha

Journalist


Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir challenges prison conditions

Radovan Krejcir, serving 35 years, returns to court to challenge his prison conditions, citing lack of hot water, blankets, and medication.


Looking relaxed and smiling at the cameras, convicted felon Radovan Krejcir returned to court yesterday to complain about his jail conditions, following a claim that a firearm was found in his high-security prison cell.

But his cuffed ankles, linked to a heavy chain around his waist, tell you the Czech former organised crime boss is a dangerous man.

Krejcir is serving 35 years after his 2015 conviction for attempted murder, assault and kidnapping, among other things.

Not first time Krejcir faces allegations

Once the solitary neighbour of disgraced Paralympian and murderer Oscar Pistorius in Kgosi Mampuru Prison’s isolation wing, it is not the first time Krejcir faces allegations of hiding illicit goods in his cell.

In a 2015 prison raid, officials found, apart from numerous weapons and 10 cellphones, a diary which contained the names of witnesses and investigators in his cases and a sketch showing a detailed map of the prison building, pointing to his planned escape during a court appearance.

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Yesterday, 20 heavily armed guards observed his every move in the High Court in Johannesburg, while his legal representative and the prosecutor addressed judge MW Msimeki in his chambers.

His legal team claimed Krejcir’s prison conditions were unfavourable, such as not being able to shower as there is no hot water.

Letter of complaint

“There is no heating system in his cell. He does not have blankets to keep him warm and despite having a blanket storage such blanket is being refused,” they claimed in a letter to the department of correctional services, that also include a complaint about a lack of medication.

“Our client has further complained about his meal portions as they are not correct in terms of the doctor’s recommendations.”

After lengthy consultations, the state prosecutor informed the court of their agreement that Krejcir “will have the privilege to consult with his attorneys in person, will see a prison doctor and have access to a telephone like other prisoners”.

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Glynnis Marriday, of the prisoners’ human rights organisation, Exclusive Mediators, claimed the department is hiding the gun allegation because the “firearm found in Krejcir’s cell” belongs to its officials.

Correctional servics deny claims that firearm belonged to officials

Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the claims were “rubbish”.

“We refuse to be a tool for Marriday in her quest for relevance and attract media attention using us. She started by issuing a media release containing misleading information so that journalists could attend a court sitting, thus providing her a platform to make a wholesale of allegations.”

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