European court slams France for prison suicide
European Court of Human Right said French authorities should have taken measures to prevent the suicide of a mentally ill inmate in 2000 as they were aware of his condition.
16 October 2008
STRASBOURG -- The European rights court on Thursday condemned France for failing to prevent the suicide of a mentally ill inmate who hanged himself in his Paris area prison cell eight years go.
Judges ruled that French authorities knew Joselito Renolde was suffering from a psychological disorder that made him prone to self-mutilation and should have had him hospitalised.
Renolde hanged himself using a sheet in the solitary confinement cell where he had been placed after assaulting a guard in the Bois-d'Arcy prison in July 2000.
Three days earlier, he had attempted suicide, using a razor to cut his arms.
In its ruling, the European Court of Human Rights said it was "struck by the fact that despite the suicide attempt and the diagnosis of Joselito Renolde's mental state, the idea of having him hospitalised in a psychiatric ward was never even considered."
France was condemned for failing to "protect the right to life" of the prisoner and for depriving the distressed man of visits.
The ruling came after a prison watchdog group raised alarm over an increase of 27 percent in the number of French prison suicides in early 2008 compared to the same period last year.
[AFP / Expatica]