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.