Leopoldov Prison Guards Sacked Over Prison Escape

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Prison and Judiciary Guard Corps general director Milan Ivan (L) and Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska during June 2 briefing on prison escape (photo by TASR)

Leopoldov, June 14 (TASR) – Three prison guards were sacked over the June 2 escape of convict Lubomir Behan from Leopoldov (Trnava region) prison, TASR learnt on Tuesday.
Furthermore, the guards’ conduct will be investigated by police over suspicion of negligence of duty, thus the guards might also potentially face criminal prosecution.

Behan, 24, convicted of armed robbery to eight years and eight months in a medium-security prison managed to escape and has been at large ever since. It was Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska who personally inquired about the results of the investigation into the Leopoldov case.

“It turned out that officers supposed to be supervising the place failed to carry out their responsibilities and weren’t physically present where they had to be. That proved to be the main cause of all subsequent events. Had they been at their posts and doing their job properly, the convict would have stood no chance of escaping,” said the minister.

The three guards, with long years of experience, had their tenures terminated as of June 10, 2016. Zitnanska emphasised that it was the failure of individuals and not the system that allowed Behan to make his escape. “The prevailing standard is that guards carry out their duties properly and our prisons are well guarded,” she claimed.

Justice Minister Zitnanska also personally inquired about the recent case of an elderly couple that claimed to have been subjected to degrading treatment at the hands of Leopoldov staff while on a visit to see their imprisoned son. The couple told media that they were ordered to strip naked, squat and were threatened with police dogs.

“This case has escalated to the stage where we have a statement-against-statement situation. Seeing as the inspection team of the Prison and Judiciary Guard Corps general director is not authorised to investigate the contradictory statements of the two sides, the matter has been forwarded to police. It’s in our interest to have the case thoroughly investigated,” said Zitnanska, who also immediately sacked the director in charge of the prison yardworks that were taking place when Behan escaped.