Brit prisoner says seven days' smoking ban a breach of 'human rights'

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Surrey, Mar 23(ANI): A British prisoner addicted to tobacco is seeking damages under the European human rights convention after he was banned from smoking for swearing at a Surrey prison officer.

Jack Richard Foster faced a smoking ban at High Down prison in February 2008. His punishment included seven days' loss of tobacco, 14 days' loss of canteen privileges and seven days' loss of earnings.

Foster's lawyers at the London High Court claim that the prison's staff breached their client's human rights by submitting him to "cruel and unusual punishment", The Telegraph reports.

They argued that, as a tobacco addict and habitual smoker, Foster should have been given nicotine skin patches, chewing gum or some other means during the period the smoking ban was in force.

Foster's legal team also argued that there were more appropriate ways of disciplining him without violating his fundamental rights, and said the prison authorities were under a duty to offer "nicotine replacement therapy" to prisoners if tobacco was withdrawn as a punishment.

Meanwhile, Justice Collins adjourned the case so that more information could be gathered, and said it should come on for a full hearing in June-July this year. (ANI)

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