Bulgaria France Russia

The significance of recognising rights behind bars: legal struggles from inside prison

library image
© Dmitry Bekhterev

What does it mean for detainees to be able to invoke the European Convention on Human Rights, if necessary in court, against the prison authorities? Answering this question implies measuring the extent to which the logic of the law clashes head-on with the rationalities of the prison, whether in terms of the primacy given to security, the secrecy in which authority is usually exercised or the asymmetry of social relations imposed by discipline. It also involves probing the capacity of law to overcome the historical inertia of prison institutions.

In the following video, four former detainees, who are still involved in defending the cause of prisoners in Russia, France and Bulgaria, give an account of the importance of the law to keep dignity in detention, but also of its very mitigated effects behind bars.

Please note you will find the points of view of these speakers on the issue of reprisals and, more generally, on the difficulties encountered by prisoners in exercising their right to complain in the fitfth chapter dedicated to access to justice in prison.

English subtitles are available in the video settings

This video shows some pictures of violence that may be inappropriate for some viewers and is not intended for display to people younger than 18 years old.