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article imagePrisoner compensated for being given non-vegetarian meals

By Lynn Curwin     Dec 9, 2010 in Crime
A convicted rapist in a Polish prison was awarded compensation for being given meals which included meat after claimed he had converted to Buddhism and required a strict vegetarian diet.
Janusz Jakóbski, 45, who is serving eight years for rape, was awarded 3,000 euros (£2,517 - $3963) by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that his religious freedom had been violated.
He appealed to the Strasbourg-based court after both Goleniów Prison and Nowogród Prison refused his request for vegetarian meals.
"We are not entirely inclined to believe that he is sincere, and his demands were not related to a desire to annoy the prison service and the justice system," The Telegraph quoted Captain Artur Bojanowicz, a prison service spokesman, as saying.
He added that Jakóbski had previously claimed to be a devout Catholic and fought to have a cross in his cell.
For some time the prisoner was provided with a diet which did not include pork, but included other meats and fish.
A press release stated that he said that he could not refuse the meals "as this would have been regarded as a decision to start a hunger strike and would have entailed disciplinary punishment."
Jakóbski claimed to be a Mahayana Buddhist, which would require him to be totally vegetarian.
The Court said that it was prepared to accept that a decision to make special arrangements for one prisoner could have financial implications for the custodial institution, but it had to "consider whether the State had struck a fair balance between the different interests involved.”
The press release stated: “The Court concluded that the authorities failed to strike a fair balance between the interests of the prison authorities and those of Mr Jakóbski, in violation of his rights under Article 9.”
More about Prisoner, Vegetarian, Poland, Meals, Jakobski
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