Reprisals - a major challenge for torture prevention bodies

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Intimidation and reprisals against detained persons, before, during and after a visit by detention monitoring bodies, are a major challenge to the torture prevention system. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has encountered cases of reprisals in all kinds of places of detention and in a number of countries in the region. In its 2013-2014 Annual Report, published today, the CPT calls on the 47 Council of Europe states to take the problem seriously.

In a press release the CPT President Lətif Hüseynov urges national authorities to respect the obligation to prevent, investigate and punish any act of intimidation or reprisals against those interviewed by the Committee:

“Intimidation or retaliation against persons the CPT has interviewed may not only violate their human rights but also strikes a blow to the preventive mechanism established by the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture”, he said.

The CPT has reported cases of reprisals in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Spain, Macedonia and Ukraine. The most common forms of reprisal are restrictions on food or other basic entitlements, solitary confinement, placement in worse conditions of detention, withdrawal of support for early release and assault and other kinds of ill-treatment.

The APT has strongly condemned all forms of reprisals related to visits to places of deprivation of liberty. In January 2014 we hosted an expert meeting on how to mitigate the risk of reprisal.

See also: Briefing paper: Mitigating the risks of sanctions related to detention monitoring (2012)