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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Latvia

Strasbourg, 19.09.11 – 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 Latvia from 5 to 15 September 2011.

The CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Latvian authorities following the recommendations made by the Committee after previous visits to the country. In this connection, particular attention was paid to the safeguards against ill-treatment offered to persons deprived of their liberty by the police as well as to conditions of detention in police stations. The delegation also examined various issues related to prisons, including the activities offered to prisoners, health-care services, and the regime and security measures applied to life-sentenced prisoners. In addition, the delegation looked into the treatment of patients at a psychiatric clinic, and of residents at a social care home.

In the course of the visit, the delegation had consultations with Aigars ŠTOKENBERGS, Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of the Interior, Leonīds JEFREMOVS, Acting Head of the Prison Administration, Viktors ELKSNIS, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, and Ringolds BEINAROVIČS, State Secretary of the Ministry of Welfare, as well as with senior officials from the aforementioned ministries and the Ministry of Health. Discussions were also held with Juris JANSONS, Ombudsman of Latvia, and representatives of NGOs active in areas of concern to the CPT.

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

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

    -     Lətif HÜSEYNOV (Azerbaijani), President of the CPT and Head of delegation
    -     Mario FELICE (Maltese)
    -     Pétur HAUKSSON (Icelander)
    -     Marzena KSEL (Polish)
    -     Sonja KURTÉN-VARTIO (Finnish)
    -     George TUGUSHI (Georgian)
    -     Branka ZOBEC HRASTAR (Slovenian).

They were supported by Borys WÓDZ (Head of Division), Elvin ALIYEV, Petr HNÁTÍK and Almut SCHRÖDER of the CPT’s Secretariat.

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Police establishments

    -     Daugavpils Police Station
    -     Dobele Police Station
    -     Jēkabpils Police Station
    -     Jelgava Police Station
    -     Latgales District Municipal Police Station, Rīga
    -     Liepāja Police Station
    -     Liepāja Municipal Police Station
    -     Saldus Police Station
    -     Talsi Police Station
    -     Valmiera Police Station
    -     Ventspils Police Station

Border Guard establishments

    -     Border Guard Accommodation Centre for Detained Aliens, Daugavpils


    -     Daugavgrīva Prison (unit for life-sentenced prisoners)
    -     Jelgava Prison
    -     Liepāja Prison
    -     Rīga Central Prison
    -     Valmiera Prison

Psychiatric/social welfare establishments

    -     Piejuras Hospital (psychiatric unit), Liepāja
    -     Iļģi branch of Kurzeme Social Care Center, Grobiņa.

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