STRASBOURG, 25.02.99 The Swedish Government has decided to make public the report of the Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on its visit to Sweden in 1998, and the interim report drawn up by the Swedish authorities in response.
Under Article 11 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the information gathered by the Committee in relation to a visit, its report and its consultations with the State concerned are confidential. However, the State may decide to lift the rule of confidentiality provided for in the Convention.
The CPT's visit was carried out from 15 to 25 February 1998, in the context of the Committee's programme of periodic visits for 1998. It was the Committee's third visit to Sweden (the other visits having been carried out in 1991 and 1994). The CPT's delegation visited the following places of detention:
- Police Headquarters
- Davidshall Police Station
- Police Headquarters (*)
- Norrmalm (*), Solna and Södermalm District Headquarters
- Police facilities at Arlanda Airport (*)
- Malmö Remand Prison
- Stockholm Remand Prison (Kronoberg) (*) (**)
- Österåker Prison
Detention centres for immigration detainees
- Stockholm Region Detention Centre (Carlslund), Upplands Väsby (*)
(*) Establishment visited for the first time in 1991
(**) Establishment visited in 1994.
The CPT's report sets out the Committee findings regarding the places visited by its delegation in 1998, and reviews the progress which has been made in implementing its 1991 and 1994 recommendations. Particular emphasis is placed upon the need to ensure that a proper balance is struck between the needs of a criminal investigation and the imposition of restrictions upon prisoners awaiting trial.
In their interim report, the Swedish authorities provide responses to the Committee's recommendations, comments and requests for information. As regards the issue of restrictions, they indicate that new regulations - which entered into force on 1 January 1999 - aim to better protect the rights of prisoners while preserving the efficiency of criminal investigations. Other matters currently being reviewed in the light of the CPT's recommendations include the content of the right of access to a lawyer for persons in police custody and the provision of health care services in prisons.
The CPT was set under the 1987 European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. All the 40 member States of the Council of Europe are bound by the Convention: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania (as from 1st March 1999), Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The CPT is composed of persons from a variety of backgrounds: lawyers, doctors, prison experts, persons with parliamentary experience, etc.
The Committees task is to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. For this purpose, it is entitled to visit any place where such persons are held by a public authority. It may formulate recommendations to strengthen, if necessary, their protection against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The CPT organises periodic visits as well as other visits which appear to it be required in the circumstances.
The CPTs report on its visit to Sweden and the interim report of the Swedish authorities (88 pages) can be obtained from:
The CPTs Internet site: www.cpt.coe.int
The Council of Europe Press Department:
Sabine ZIMMER, tel. +33/(0)3 88 41 25 97 ; fax (0)3 88 41 27 90 ; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A six page summary of the CPT's main findings can be faxed upon request.
A political organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe promotes democracy and human rights continent-wide. It also develops common responses to social, cultural and legal challenges in its 40 member states.