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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Bulgaria

03.11.2010 - 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 Bulgaria from 18 to 29 October 2010.

During the visit, the delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Bulgarian authorities following the recommendations made by the Committee after its previous visits, in particular in the areas of initial detention by the police, the situation of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty, conditions of detention in investigation detention facilities and prisons, and the treatment of psychiatric patients and social care home residents.

In the course of the visit, the CPT's delegation held meetings with Margarita POPOVA, Minister of Justice, Hristo ANGELOV, Deputy Minister of Justice, Petar VASSILEV, Director of the Main Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions, as well as with senior officials from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, Health, and Labour and Social Policy, and the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office. It also met the outgoing Ombudsman, Ginyo GANEV, and members of his office.

Further, discussions were held with the UNHCR Representation to Bulgaria and members of non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.

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

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

- Wolfgang HEINZ (German), Head of delegation
- Celso DAS NEVES MANATA (Portuguese)
- Mykola GNATOVSKYY (Ukrainian)
- Vladimir ORTAKOV (citizen of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”)
- Elena SEREDA (Russian)
- Marika VÄLI (Estonian).

They were supported by Petya NESTOROVA, Head of Division, and Elvin ALIYEV of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by one expert: Mr Clive MEUX, consultant forensic psychiatrist, Oxford (United Kingdom).

The delegation visited the following places:

Establishments under the Ministry of the Interior

- 3rd District Police Directorate, Sofia
- 8th District Police Directorate, Sofia
- 9th District Police Directorate, Sofia
- Balchik District Police Directorate
- 5th District Police Directorate, Plovdiv
- 6th District Police Directorate, Plovdiv
- 1st District Police Directorate, Varna
- 2nd District Police Directorate, Varna
- Home for Temporary Placement of Adults, Varna
- Home for Temporary Placement of Minors, Varna
- Sobering-up centre, Varna

- Home for Temporary Placement of Foreign Nationals, Busmantsi

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice

- Lovech Prison Hospital
- Plovdiv Prison
- Varna Prison

Investigation detention facilities at:
- 42 Blvd. G.M. Dimitrov, Sofia
- Balchik
- Lovech
- Plovdiv
- Varna
- Veliko Turnovo

Establishments under the Ministry of Health

- Karvuna State Psychiatric Hospital
- Lovech State Psychiatric Hospital (forensic ward)

Establishments under the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy

- Home for men with intellectual retardation in the village of Oborishte, Valchi Dol municipality
- Home for men with psychiatric disorders in the village of Pastra, Rila municipality.

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