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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits the Netherlands

Strasbourg, 28.10.2011 - 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 visit to the Netherlands from 10 to 21 October 2011. This was the CPT’s fifth periodic visit to that country.


During the visit, the CPT’s delegation reviewed the situation of persons subjected to a TBS measure (i.e. a measure providing for involuntary psychiatric treatment in a special hospital) as well as the treatment of irregular migrants held in detention centres for aliens. It also examined for the first time the situation of the so-called “VRIS” prisoners (sentenced foreigners awaiting deportation) and the expulsion procedures in place. The delegation also reviewed the treatment of persons in police custody, including the safeguards applicable to them.

In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation held consultations with Ivo Willem OPSTELTEN, Minister of Security and Justice, and Fredrik TEEVEN, State Secretary of Security and Justice. It also met senior officials from the Ministry of Security and Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Further, meetings were held with representatives of various national inspectorates (IST, IGZ) and monitoring (CITT) and advisory committees (RSJ). 

The delegation also had discussions with Alex BRENNINKMEIJER, National Ombudsman, and with representatives 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 Netherlands authorities.  

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


-         Timothy DALTON (Irish), Head of delegation

-         Yakin ERTÜRK (Turkish)

-         Isolde KIEBER (Liechtensteiner)

-         Stefan KRAKOWSKI (Swedish)

-         Dajena KUMBARO (Albanian)

-         Vladimir ORTAKOV (citizen of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).


They were supported by Fabrice KELLENS, Deputy Executive Secretary of the CPT, Julien ATTUIL-KAYSER and Petr HNÁTÍK of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Timothy HARDING, psychiatrist and former Director of the University Institute of Forensic Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland.


The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Law enforcement establishments

-         Apeldoorn Police Headquarters

-         Arnhem Police Station (Head Office)

-         Nijmegen Police Station

-         Sprang Capelle Police Station

-         Tiel Police Station

-         Tilburg West Police Headquarters

-         Uden Police Station


-         Royal Military Police (KMAR) facilities, Schiphol Airport


-         Court House detention facility, The Hague

 Prison establishments

-         Arnhem Zuid Prison

-         Veenhuizen Prison, Esserheem

Detention centres for foreigners 

-         Detention Centre for foreigners, Rotterdam Airport

-         Detention and Expulsion Centre for foreigners, Schiphol - East

Psychiatric establishments

     -         Forensic Psychiatric Centre Dr van Mesdag, Groningen
Forensic Psychiatric Department, Oostrum
-         “Long stay” wards for TBS patients of the Pompe Institute, Zeeland




*         *


In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation also carried out a visit to Tilburg Prison, an establishment situated on the territory of the Netherlands and accommodating prisoners sentenced by Belgian courts by virtue of the Agreement signed between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium on 31 October 2009. The CPT’s delegation presented its preliminary observations to Stefaan De Clerck, Belgian Minister for Justice,  at the end of the visit to Tilburg Prison, on 19 October 2011.


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