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[Europe File] Useful information for NGOs to forward to the CPT

janvier 2011

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Useful information for NGOs to forward to the CPT

(European Committee for the Prevention of Torture)

Concerning the police

- Claims of abuse of detainees by police officers : • when stopped
• on the way to a police station or remand centre
• while detained at a police station or remand centre

- Material conditions in police-run establishments : • cell size in relation to the number of detainees
• lighting, heating and ventilation
• availability of sleeping facilities, clean mattresses and bedding
• sanitary facilities
• distribution of food and drinks
• possibility of physical exercise for detention periods exceeding 24 hours

- Abuse protection measures : • right to contact a parent or any other third party
• right to a lawyer
• right to see a doctor

Concerning prisons

- Claims of abuse of detainees by prison staff : • in prison
• during transfer from one prison to another, or from prison to court

- Violence between detainees

- Material conditions in prisons : • cell size in relation to the number of detainees
• lighting, heating and ventilation
• sanitary facilities
• furniture

- Detention regimes : • time spent outside one’s cell
• outdoor physical exercise
• other out-of-cell activities : education, sport, rewarding work

- Health services

- Other areas within the CPT’s remit : • solitary confinement
• discipline
• contact with outside world
• complaint and inspection procedures

Concerning the detention of foreign nationals

• abuse (in detention or during forcible removal)
• material conditions
• diet
• regime
• information provided to detainees (including interpreting)
• medical care
• access to a lawyer
• compliance with the principle of non-refoulement : absence of effective appeal (with suspensive effect) against a refusal of entry or expulsion order

The CPT is also interested in the following type of information on any place where persons are deprived of their liberty by a public authority :

-  holding areas in military barracks

-  juvenile detention centres

-  psychiatric establishments
The CPT has even extended its sphere of action to cover old people’s homes.

Inquiries and legal proceedings

• role of the justice system : foot-dragging by public prosecutor’s departments (cases filed, etc.)
• role of the prison authorities : inquiries, legal proceedings and administrative penalties
• thorough examination of all complaints or allegations of abuse
• use of documents in case files referring to allegations of abuse

Basic guarantees against ill-treatment

• informing persons in detention or custody of their rights : inadequacies, especially where foreign nationals are concerned
• presence of a lawyer from the outset
• role of doctors (detailed medical certificates, access of the persons concerned and their lawyers to the medical file)
• staff training : professional code of ethics, code of conduct governing questioning
• checks on detention conditions : visits to detention facilities by public prosecutor’s departments : inadequacies

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