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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits France

15.12.2010 − 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 France from 28 November to 10 December 2010.

During the visit, the delegation examined, among other matters, the measures taken by the French authorities following the recommendations made by the Committee after its previous visits. In this connection, it reviewed the treatment of persons detained by law enforcement agencies and of foreign nationals held under aliens legislation, as well as conditions of detention in prisons. The delegation also paid particular attention to the situation of patients placed involuntarily in psychiatric establishments.

The delegation had consultations with François MOLINS, Director of the Private Office of the Minister of Justice and Liberties, Marguerite BERARD-ANDRIEU, Director of the Private Office of the Minister of Labour, Employment and Health, and Guillaume LARRIVE, Deputy Director of the Private Office of the Minister of the Interior and Immigration, as well as with other senior officials from these ministries.

Further, the delegation met Jean-Marie DELARUE, General Controller of Places of Deprivation of Liberty, as well as members of the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights and the National Ethics and Security Commission, and representatives of the Ombudsman of the Republic. Discussions were also held with members of non-governmental organisations active in areas of interest to the CPT.

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

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

- Marc NEVE (Belgian), Head of delegation
- Dan DERMENGIU (Romanian)
- Anna LAMPEROVÁ (Slovak)
- Joan Miquel RASCAGNERES (Andorran).

They were supported by Johan FRIESTEDT and Muriel ISELI of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Timothy HARDING, psychiatrist and former Director of the University Institute of Forensic Medicine, Geneva, and Christian-Nils ROBERT, Professor Emeritus of Criminal Law at the University of Geneva.

The delegation visited the following places:

Establishments under the Ministry of the Interior and Immigration

- Reception, Research and Judicial Investigation Service, 18th administrative district, Paris
- Béthune Police Headquarters
- Bobigny Police Headquarters
- Lille Police Headquarters
- Rouen Police Headquarters
- Vénissieux/Saint-Fons Police Headquarters

- Territorial Brigade of the National Gendarmerie, Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise

- Administrative Holding Centre for Foreign Nationals, Paris-Vincennes
- Administrative Holding Centre for Foreign Nationals, Rouen-Oissel

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice and Liberties

- Le Havre Prison, Saint-Aubin-Routot
- Poissy Prison

Establishments under the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Health

- Paul Guiraud Hospital Complex in Villejuif, including the unit for "difficult patients"
- Val de Lys-Artois Public Establishment for Mental Health, Saint-Venant
- Le Vinatier Specialised Hospital in Bron, in particular the special unit for prisoners and the intensive psychiatric care unit.

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