Strasbourg, 03.05.2012 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Belgium from 23 to 27 April 2012.
The main purpose of the visit was to review the current situation in the Belgian prison system, in particular the conditions of detention in establishments for prisoners awaiting trial and issues connected to strikes by prison staff and other industrial action resulting in a reduced work rate within prisons. The CPT's delegation visited Forest Prison for the first time. The delegation also carried out a short follow-up visit to Andenne Prison and examined Wing B of St. Gilles Prison, which is due to be opened shortly.
The delegation held consultations with Jan Poels and Cédric Visart de Bocarmé, respectively Head of the Private Office of the Minister of Justice and of the Minister of the Interior, Hans Meurisse, Director General of the Prison Administration and Laurent Vrijdaghs, Administrator General of the Buildings Agency, as well as many senior officials of the ministries concerned. The delegation also held a lengthy discussion with Magda de Galan, Mayor of Forest.
At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Belgian authorities.
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:
- Lətif HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijani), President of the CPT, Head of delegation
- Jari PIRJOLA (Finnish).
They were supported by Fabrice KELLENS, Deputy Executive Secretary of the CPT, and Borys WODZ, Head of Division in the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Andres LEHTMETS, Head of the Centre of Psychiatry, West-Tallinn Central Hospital, Estonia.