The French want DSK to serve time in France if convicted, according to the New York Post.
“It seems obvious that, in the hypothesis that DSK is convicted, he should serve his sentence in France,” said Claude Guéant, the French interior minister.
Unfortunately, Monsiour Strauss Kahn might prefer to stay put.
For one thing, the French legal system has no concept of habeus corpeus – thus in theory, you can be imprisoned for significant amounts of time without charge, though other restrictions do exist.
Then there’s the prisons themselves:
- In 2005, the European Council’s commissioner for human rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, described the Palais de Justice in Paris as “dungeons”, according to The Daily Telegraph.
- The same article from The Daily Telegraph reports that in Palais De Justice’s dépôt “human rights organisations have uncovered evidence of prisoners, mainly illegal immigrants, going without food, drink and lavatory paper as they huddle together for warmth. There have been numerous violent attacks and cases of detainees mutilating themselves and smearing their blood on the walls.”
- A further report from Gil-Robles in 2006 said the Palais de Justice were the worst he’d ever seen, “except perhaps in Moldova”, reports The Economist.
- France ranks 31st out of 32 European countries in terms of prison conditions, according to PressTV.
- 115 French prisoners killed themselves in 2009, reports The Guardian, giving it one of the highest prison suicide rates in Europe.
- 20% of the prison population is suspected to be mentally ill, reports The Economist
- In 2007, a prison removed another prisoner’s lung (while he was still alive), before eating it and killing the victim. The pair had been arguing over a blocked toilet in their cell, reports The Daily Telegraph. The case was highlighted as an example of French prison’s chronic overcrowding.
Suddenly Rikers doesn’t look so bad.