Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1996 - Estonia, 1 January 1996, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9ef58.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Four prisoners under sentence of death were held in prolonged isolation. Following parliamentary elections in March, Tiit Vähi was confirmed as Prime Minister. At least four prisoners were believed to be on death row at the end of the year. All four had been convicted of aggravated murder in 1992 and 1993. Three of the convicted men were still awaiting the outcome of petitions for clemency they had submitted to President Lennart Meri in 1993. Prisoners on death row were confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, raising concern that such prolonged isolation could have serious effects on their physical and mental health. In February a total of 88 asylum-seekers who had been held in detention or under lesser forms of restriction throughout 1994 were allowed to enter Finland, where they were granted political asylum (see Amnesty International Report 1995). Throughout the year Amnesty International appealed for the commutation of all pending death sentences. In August the organization urged the authorities to consider all possible ways of alleviating the effects of prolonged isolation on death row prisoners. In November Amnesty International wrote to the authorities requesting information about the investigation into the suicide in Harku Prison of 17-year-old Riina Vallikivi in August 1994 (see Amnesty International Report 1995). Amnesty International asked whether, following her death, any prison officers had been disciplined or any changes made to prison procedures regulating the imprisonment of juveniles, the use of punishment cells, or the medical supervision of prisoners placed in such cells. No reply to this or a previous inquiry about the case had been received by the end of the year.