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  Under the leadership of the Ombudsman, the conditions in the penitentiary institution No. 7 in Tovoksoy were studied
 On March 27, 2023, the Ombudsman and members of public groups to identify and suppress the facts of torture under the Ombudsman carried out a monitoring visit to penitentiary institution No. 7 of the Tashkent region. It was also attended by local and international media, who got acquainted with the conditions in the institution.

During the visit, the sleeping quarters of the colony, the kitchen, the library, the medical department, rooms for long-term and short-term meetings, and conditions in the industrial zone were studied. Group and individual interviews were also held with the prisoners.

During one of the previous monitoring visits to this institution, the Ombudsman made recommendations to improve the conditions in the kitchen. During this monitoring, it became known that the kitchen was completely renovated and put into operation in 2022. Convicts are provided with food according to the established menu 3 times a day.

“When I was free, I heard different things about the bad conditions in prisons. Even now, many people think so. It has been 11 months since I arrived. I didn't think they would serve this kind of food. Soup is served on weekends. Fish is served as first and second courses for lunch. Workshop conditions are also good. When my family members come, I will tell them that the conditions are good, I will tell them to tell others about it," one of the convicts said.

Another aspect that attracted the attention of community members was the introduction of an e-market service. Through an electronic monitor installed in the colony, prisoners order groceries from commercial organizations and large supermarkets. Payment is made after delivery of the order.

It should be noted that these days the attention of the world community is riveted to Uzbekistan. After all, the country is preparing for an important process - a referendum on the draft constitutional law of the Republic of Uzbekistan. At the referendum scheduled for April 30, 2023, prisoners deprived of their liberty, but who have not committed grave and especially grave crimes, have the opportunity to vote. In this institution, which holds over a thousand prisoners, 6 prisoners have the right to vote. When they were spoken to, they said that they would definitely take part in the referendum, and that they were aware of the constitutional reform, watching various shows during cultural leisure, and that the institution had also given them the necessary explanations.

Also during the monitoring, the working conditions created for prisoners were studied. According to the head of penal colony No. 7, Colonel Sharofiddin Usmonov, there are currently 9 workshops for tailoring, carpentry, furniture, metal and porcelain products, for the production of glassware, weaving and other workshops. In 2022, certificates were issued to 282 convicts who were trained in a new profession. At the expense of the profit from the workshops, 2 more new workshops were built. Currently, 62% of prisoners are employed. Employment of prisoners will increase by 75% with the opening of new workshops. Disabled, sick and elderly prisoners are not involved in work.

When talking with several convicts about wages, it was said that work in the workshops is paid in installments, and in the sewing workshop there are even people who are paid up to 2.5-3 million soums for hard work, while most convicts receive a salary of in the amount of about 1 million soums.

He noted that when a prisoner, who previously taught foreign languages, approached the administration of the institution with a proposal to teach English, a class was created in accordance with his request and classes have been held for more than 2 years. This convict, who currently teaches more than 200 convicts, stated that he regretted what he had done and made the right conclusions.

When studying the quality of medical care for prisoners, there were no complaints about medicines and medical services provided. However, it was found that 4 out of 8 medical positions in the institution are vacant.

For information, in 2021, the Ombudsman conducted 177 monitoring visits on issues of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, while in 2022 this figure was 381 times.

During the monitoring visits in 2022, group meetings were held with more than 6,000 people, individual conversations with 1,657 people.

In 2022, the Ombudsman received 3,235 (4,541 in 2021) appeals on various issues from persons held in penitentiary institutions, their close relatives and defenders (lawyers). 1699 of them, or 52.5%, were sent directly by convicts and prisoners.

Based on the results of the consideration of these complaints and statements, 43 decisions of the prosecutor's office to refuse to initiate a criminal case in 2022 were canceled, and a decision was made to conduct a pre-investigation check. According to 21 complaints, the punishment imposed on 52 convicts was changed by the relevant courts to a milder one, and 13 defendants were changed to a milder measure of restraint. Material and social assistance was provided to family members of 17 prisoners. 21 convicts, as an exception, were transferred by the Department for the Execution of Punishments to a colony at the place of residence, based on humane principles.

In order to ensure the timely elimination of shortcomings identified during the monitoring visit, recommendations of the Ombudsman are submitted to the competent ministries and departments.

It should be remind that the analytical data prepared by the Ombudsman on the results of monitoring visits on the prevention of torture, including the shortcomings identified during the monitoring, are sent to the relevant state bodies, as well as to the chambers of the Oliy Majlis.

Press Service of the Authorized Person of the Oliy Majlis for Human Rights (Ombudsman)