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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee urges European states to improve reporting of evidence of ill-treatment


Strasbourg, 06.11.2013 – The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has urged the 47 Council of Europe member States to ensure the accurate and timely reporting of medical evidence of ill-treatment of detained persons, in order to facilitate investigations.

In its annual report published today, the Committee points out that the documenting and reporting of medical evidence of ill-treatment is unsatisfactory in many European States. The procedures in place do not always guarantee that injuries borne by detained persons will be recorded appropriately and reported to the relevant authorities.

The CPT stresses that when persons enter prisons, they should be properly interviewed and physically examined by a health-care professional within 24 hours. This procedure should also be followed when a prisoner who has been returned to police custody for investigative reasons is brought back to prison. As a matter of principle, the CPT argues in favour of ending the practice of returning prisoners to police custody, as it entails a high risk of ill-treatment; instead, any further questioning should take place on prison premises.

“The documenting and reporting of medical evidence is essential for investigating cases of possible ill-treatment and holding perpetrators to account, which is the strongest deterrent against future abuse. It is crucial that health-care professionals working in prisons or other places of deprivation of liberty automatically report injuries indicative of ill-treatment to an independent authority. This is often not happening in practice”, said Lətif Hüseynov, the CPT President.

The annual report provides information on the 21 visits which the CPT has carried out between August 2012 and July 2013. The Committee also welcomes the continuing trend of States lifting the veil of confidentiality and making public its findings. 18 visit reports were published during the period covered by the annual report, including the report on the CPT’s visit in 2011 to the North Caucasian region of the Russian Federation.  

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The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) organises visits to places of detention in the 47 Council of Europe member States in order to assess how persons deprived of their liberty are treated. These places include prisons, juvenile detention centres, police stations, holding centres for immigration detainees, psychiatric hospitals and social care homes. After each visit, the CPT prepares a report containing its findings and recommendations.

More information on the CPT: www.cpt.coe.int
Jaime Rodríguez: jaime.rodriguez@coe.int; mob. +33 (0) 6 89 99 50 42


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