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Shackling seriously ill prisoner violates human rights: NHRCK

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has ruled that shackling a seriously ill male prisoner while receiving treatment violates his physical liberty.

NHRCK accepted the prisoner’s petition and requested the prison warden educate prison guards and ensure that they only apply the necessary protective devices to him.

The investigation by NHRCK found that the prisoner had received dialysis 76 times from December 2016 to May 2017 due to chronic renal failure.

Handcuffed during the treatment(Yonhap)
Handcuffed during the treatment(Yonhap)

The prison had stationed five guards and chained not only the prisoner’s ankles, but also his left arm during the treatment to avoid a possible escape, due to his familiarity with the internal structure of the prison, while receiving the treatment three times per week.

The prison warden claimed that the practice is acceptable under the law of enforcement allowing two protective devices to be applied on prisoners who possess a great danger of escaping while being transported.

However, NHRCK judged that it was excessive for a prisoner in his 60s who is in prison for the first time. They added that the prisoner had not misbehaved in the prison.

NHRCK stated using two handcuffs on a prisoner based on a hypothetical danger without considering his physical circumstances violates his rights provided by the Constitution.

By Ahn Sang-yool (