One cell, 50 inmates in Romania, complains S'pore prisoner

One cell, 50 inmates in Romania, complains S'pore prisoner

Conditions in overcrowded Romanian prisons are improving, after a Singaporean jailed there complained all the way to the European Human Rights Court.

Mr Goh Yong Seng was sentenced to 15 years' jail in 2001 for blackmail and robbery, and was held at four different prisons in the capital Bucharest over the following years.

He complained when he could not bear being squeezed into cells with numerous inmates, and having to share a bed with other men, including at least one who was "covered in wounds".

In June 2011, the court based in Strasbourg, France, found his claims of overcrowding justified and ordered the Romanian government to pay him 16,000 euros (S$27,000) in compensation.

Mr Goh was released last year for good behaviour. Now 55, he is on parole for the remaining four years of his sentence and is living in Romania. He could not be reached for comments.

His case surfaced in the course of checks by The Sunday Times on Singaporeans who are jailed abroad. Romanian officials said there are no other Singaporeans in prisons there.

A prison official in Bucharest told The Sunday Times via e-mail that since the European court's findings, steps have been taken to improve conditions to meet European standards of detention.

These include, among other measures, expanding capacity within prisons as well as developing new facilities through public- private partnerships.

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