State paid HUF 120 million in damages to prisoners so far this year

July 31, 2017

The Hungarian state has paid a total of HUF 120 million (USD 461,000) so far this year in damages to prisoners who lodged complaints over unacceptable conditions of their detention, reports pro-government daily Magyar Hirlap.

New laws went into effect this year allowing prisoners to lodge such complaints over violations of their fundamental rights concerning their placement in detention facilities, and to seek compensation for damages. According to the newspaper, 1,964 such complaints have been filed this year by prisoners over conditions of their detention.

Hungary implemented the legal procedure for compensating prisoners in 2015 after several Hungarian prisoners had filed successful suits against the state in the European Court of Human Rights, resulting in the state being forced to pay monetary damages.

According to Hungarian law, prisoners are entitled to compensation when during the course of their detention, they are deprived of legally required living space or are subjected to torture or cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment. Included in these standards are a “lack of separated toilets, inadequate ventilation, lighting or heat, and harm caused by insects.”

Under law, compensation must be paid to prisoners on the basis of how many days they spent in inadequate detention. Accounting for how many prisoners were awarded compensation payments, and how many days they spent collectively in detention, the state has paid an average of HUF 1,437 per day per prisoner this year.