The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture visited Bulgaria in March 2014 and recently released a report with findings and recommendations.
The Committee's findings are not really encouraging: the experts reach the conclusion that "the vast majority of (their) long-standing recommendations, some of them dating back to the very first periodic visit to Bulgaria in 1995, remain unimplemented".
Allegations of ill-treatment of persons detained by the police, as well as prison over-crowding, remain major issues. The Committee there are still no effective safeguards against ill-treatment by the police.
"A prisoner interviewed by the delegation at Sofia Prison alleged having recently (on 20 March 2014) been struck by a group of custodial officers using truncheons."
Another issue that is reported by the Committee to be still widespread is the phenomenon of inter-prisoner violence.
As for life sentenced prisoners, the Committee notes that "the review of the situation of life-sentenced prisoners in Bulgaria, carried out by the CPT’s delegation in the course of the 2014 visit, demonstrated that little – if anything at all – had been done to improve their condition in the light of the Committee’s long-standing recommendations."
The European Court of Human Rights recently condemned Bulgaria for violation of Article 3 of the Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of torture) after a detainee of the Varna prison remained bound on his bed for several days. The Court recalls that the lack of an effective investigation is a component of the Bulgarian government's failure to comply with its obligations under Article 3 (case of Dimcho v. Bulgaria)
The Bulgarian government provided a response to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture's report. Both the report and the Bulgarian authorities' response have been made public at the request of the Bulgarian authorities.
Tajikistan ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1995. In 2012, Tajikistan introduced some legal changes, including, a new criminal provision defining torture and providing penalties for it. However, the Special Rapporteur on Torture made several recommendations in 2013 to fill gaps in laws and policies.
Furthermore, the UN Committee Against Torture stated in its 2012 concluding observations on the second periodic report of Tajikistan: "As a matter of urgency, the State party should take immediate and effective steps to eradicate and prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country, particularly in police custody and in temporary and pretrial detention facilities run by the State Committee of National Security and the Department for the Fight Against Organized Crime."
Similarly, the NGO Coalition against Torture documented more than 100 cases of men, women and children who were allegedly subjected to torture or other ill-treatment between 2011 and 2014. The NGO stresses that perpetrators were brought to justice only in exceptional cases.