Poland: Persons taken into police custody still run “appreciable risk” of being ill-treated, says anti-torture committee
A report published today by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) found that most people who were or recently had been in police custody reported correct treatment by the police.
However, although the report includes much praise, the delegation that visited Poland in late 2017 recorded enough allegations of physical ill-treatment – including punches and kicks – to conclude that “persons taken into police custody continue to run an appreciable risk of being ill-treated.”
The CPT calls on the Polish authorities to pursue “rigorously” their efforts to combat police ill-treatment. The report advises that police officers “throughout the country” should receive a “firm message that all forms of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty are unlawful and will be punished accordingly”.
In its reply to the report, the Polish government disagrees with the conclusion, explaining that some allegations of ill treatment raised in the report are “insufficiently substantiated” (see the Polish version of the response).
Published on The Council of Europe website on July 25, 2018
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.