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Tue May 24 21:40:27 SAST 2016

'Just the Bible for Krejcir'

Matthew Savides | 18 January, 2016 00:17
Krejcir's family has decried the conditions at the prison. File photo
Image by: Alon Skuy

Since early December, one of South Africa's most notorious mobsters, Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir, has spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement with access to nothing more than a Bible.

Now his lawyers are desperate to get him moved out of the C-Max prison in Kokstad and back to Johannesburg, even if it means going to court.

His attorney, Cliff Alexander, said: "None of Mr Krejcir's legal representatives were made aware of his transfer to Kokstad Prison until such time as he had been transferred. His family were as surprised as his legal representatives."

Krejcir, who was convicted in August last year of kidnapping, attempted murder and a drug-related offence, was moved after he allegedly tried to escape from the Kgosi Mamphuru Prison in Johannesburg. He was transferred to the Zonderwater Prison outside Pretoria before being moved to Kokstad.

Correctional Services department spokesman Manelisi Wolela confirmed Krejcir was moved in the first week of December as part of "Operation Vala", a 50-day festive season security campaign largely aimed at reducing inmate escapes.

Criminals are only placed in Kokstad prison if their crimes were particularly horrific, or if they are considered "problem inmates".

Krejcir's family has decried the conditions at the prison.

In a statement Krejcir's wife, Katerina, and son, Dennis, said: "The family is very concerned about his mental and physical health, as he did not receive his medication. We hardly have any contact with him as the prison officials keep telling us that the phones are broken. When he is allowed to call, it is for a short time. We believe that they are deliberately trying to destroy him and they hope that he will commit suicide."

At C-Max, the cell doors do not have bars, but are instead solid steel structures with a shoebox-size window that can only be opened and shut by warders from the outside. Inmates are only allowed out of their cells for one hour a day - while handcuffed and accompanied by a warden.


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