Anti-torture Committee publishes report on Azerbaijan

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has today published its first report on Azerbaijan, together with the Government’s responses. The report concerns the CPT’s periodic visit to Azerbaijan in November/December 2002.
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In the report, the CPT concludes that people detained by the police in Azerbaijan run a significant risk of being ill-treated. The Committee recommends that a high priority be given to professional training for police officers and that the legal safeguards against ill-treatment (such as notification of custody, access to a lawyer and access to a doctor) be applied as from the very outset of deprivation of liberty. The report also highlights serious shortcomings in the conditions of detention at several police detention centres, especially in Lenkoran.

As regards prisons, the CPT acknowledges the efforts made to improve conditions of detention. However, at Investigative isolators No. 1 in Baku and No. 2 in Ganja, the CPT observed overcrowding and a lack of constructive activities for inmates. A number of shortcomings were also found as regards material conditions at the psychiatric ward of the Central Penitentiary Hospital in Baku.

In their responses to the report, the Azerbaijani authorities highlight the measures taken to improve police training and step up control of police activities. Reference is also made to the refurbishment of police detention centres. Various steps aimed at reducing the prison population and improving detention conditions are also reportedly under way.

The CPT’s report and the Government’s responses, which have been made public at the request of the Azerbaijani authorities, are available on the committe's website: