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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Hungary


Strasbourg, 09.04.2009 – A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) recently carried out a ten-day visit to Hungary. The visit, which began on 24 March 2009, was the CPT’s fourth periodic visit to this country.

The CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Hungarian authorities to implement the recommendations made by the Committee after previous visits. In particular, the delegation followed up on the safeguards offered to persons detained by the police, the holding of remand prisoners on police premises and the treatment of foreign nationals held under aliens legislation. The delegation also examined in detail various issues related to prisons, including the situation of prisoners held in a Maximum Security Unit (KBK) and other inmates considered to require high security arrangements (Grade 4 prisoners). For the first time in Hungary, it visited a prison establishment in which private contractors are involved, in Tizsalök. In addition, the delegation visited civil psychiatric establishments/units and reviewed the situation of people undergoing forensic psychiatric assessment and prisoners receiving treatment or under observation in the Judicial and Observation Psychiatric Institute (IMEI).

During the visit, the CPT’s delegation held consultations with Tibor DRASKOVICS, Minister of Justice and Law Enforcement, Tamás SZÉKELY, Minister of Health, Erika SZÜCS, Minister of Labour and Social Care, and Tamás KOVÁCS, Prosecutor General, as well as with senior officials of the Ministries and Services concerned. It also met Máté SZABÓ, Parliamentary Commissioner for Civil Rights. Further, it had meetings with representatives of international and 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 Hungarian authorities.

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

- Renate KICKER (Austrian), Head of Delegation and First Vice President of the CPT
- Ivan JANKOVIC (Serbian)
- Andres LEHTMETS (Estonian)
- Vladimir ORTAKOV (citizen of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia")
- Zoreslava SHKIRYAK-NYZHNYK (Ukrainian).

They were supported by Johan FRIESTEDT and Isabelle SERVOZ-GALLUCCI of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Alan MITCHELL, former Head of the Scottish Prison Health-Care Service (United Kingdom), and James McMANUS, Professor of Criminal Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University (United Kingdom).

The delegation visited the following places:

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement

Police establishments

- Budapest Police Central Holding Facility
- 4th District Police Station, Budapest
- Sub-division of 8th District Police Station at Keleti railway station, Budapest
- Miskolc Police Holding Facility
- Nyíregyháza Police Holding Facility
- Sátoraljaújhely Police Station

- Budapest Airport Holding Facility for aliens (“Guarded Shelter”)
- Budapest Airport Border Police Station and Holding Facility (Terminal 2)
- Nyírbátor Holding Facility for aliens (“Guarded Shelter”)

Prison Service establishments

- Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén Remand Prison, Miskolc
- Sátoraljaújhely Prison (Maximum Security Unit and Grade 4 prisoners)
- Tiszalök Prison

- Building No. 2 of the Judicial and Observation Psychiatric Institute (IMEI), Budapest

Establishments under the Ministry of Health

- Closed wards of Psychiatric Units I and II at Nyírö Gyula Hospital, Budapest
- Santha Kalman Mental Health Centre and Special Hospital, Nagykálló



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