Strasbourg, 25.03.2011 – The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has today published the report on its fifth periodic visit to Spain, which took place in September-October 2007, together with the response of the Spanish authorities. Both documents have been made public at the request of the Spanish authorities.
In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation examined the treatment of persons detained by various national and (autonomous) regional law enforcement agencies. The Committee’s report refers to several allegations received of ill-treatment during the incommunicado detention of persons suspected of acts of terrorism, and makes specific recommendations aimed at preventing such ill-treatment. More generally, the CPT recommends once again that steps be taken to guarantee effective access to a lawyer as from the outset of police custody. In their response, the Spanish authorities refer to a number of measures to improve the safeguards in place concerning incommunicado detention; for example, to prohibit its application to minors, to video-record all detentions, to improve the quality of medical monitoring and to ensure that custody registers are more comprehensive. They also state their intention to speed up access to a lawyer during ordinary police custody.
The report comments on the conditions of detention in a number of prisons in the Basque country, Catalonia and the Madrid area, with a particular focus on prisoners in disciplinary segregation and in special departments. The report is especially critical of the resort to the use of mechanical restraints in prisons, notably in Catalonia. The authorities’ response states that both the central and Catalan prison administrations have adopted new instructions on the use of restraints; those from Catalonia expressly prohibit the use of the so-called “superman” restraint position referred to in the CPT’s report.
The report also makes a number of recommendations aimed at improving the conditions of detention at Barajas International Airport for persons not admitted to Spanish territory, and also addresses the treatment of foreign unaccompanied minors at a facility in the Canary Islands.
The CPT's report and the Spanish authorities' response are available on the Committee’s website ( http://www.cpt.coe.int )