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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Austria


Strasbourg, 03.03.2009 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a periodic visit to Austria from 15 to 25 February 2009. It was the CPT’s fifth visit to Austria.

In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Austrian authorities in response to various recommendations made by the Committee after its previous visits. In this connection, particular attention was paid to the treatment of persons detained by the police and to the conditions of detention under which foreign nationals are held in police detention centres. The delegation also examined in detail various issues related to prisons, including the situation of juvenile prisoners. In addition, the delegation visited a civil psychiatric hospital and – for the first time in Austria – a social welfare institution.

The delegation had fruitful consultations with Ms Maria FEKTER, Federal Minister of the Interior, Ms Claudia BANDION-ORTNER, Federal Minister of Justice, and Mr Alois STÖGER, Federal Minister of Health, as well as with senior officials from the above-mentioned Ministries, the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs, and the Federal Chancellery. Discussions were also held with the Chairman of the Human Rights Advisory Board, Professor Gerhart Klaus WIELINGER, and representatives of the Austrian Bar Association and various NGOs active in areas of concern to the CPT.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Austrian authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

- Pétur HAUKSSON (Icelander), 2nd Vice-President of the CPT and Head of delegation
- Silvia CASALE (British)
- Gergely FLIEGAUF (Hungarian)
- Eugenijus GEFENAS (Lithuanian)
- Anna ŠABATOVÁ (Czech).

They were supported by Michael NEURAUTER (Head of Division), Elvin ALIYEV and Stephanie MEGIES of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Gérard LAURENCIN, psychiatrist, Head of the Regional Medical and Psychological Service, Toulouse (France), and Jurgen VAN POECKE, Director of Bruges Prison (Belgium).

The delegation visited the following places:

Police establishments

Police detention centre (Polizeianhaltezentrum - PAZ), Innsbruck
PAZ Klagenfurt
PAZ Vienna-Hernalser Gürtel
PAZ Wiener Neustadt

Regional Police Headquarters for the Tyrol, Hall
Police Station Klagenfurt-Landhaushof
Police Station Klagenfurt-St. Ruprechter Strasse
Police Station Linz-Central Railway Station
Federal Police Directorate (3rd district), Vienna-Juchgasse
Regional Police Headquarters (Criminal Police Department) for Lower Austria, Vienna-Landstrasser Hauptstrasse
Police Station Wiener Neustadt-Burgplatz

Prisons

Gerasdorf Prison for Juveniles
Innsbruck Prison
Vienna-Josefstadt Prison

In addition, the delegation carried out brief visits to Klagenfurt and Linz Prisons, in order to interview newly-arrived remand prisoners.

Psychiatric/social welfare establishments

Sigmund Freud Regional Psychiatric Hospital, Graz
Johannes von Gott Nursing Centre of the Brothers of Mercy (Barmherzige Brüder), Kainbach.



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