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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes reports on Estonia

In two reports published today, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) assesses the treatment of people detained in Estonia. These reports, published with the approval of the Estonian authorities together with their responses, concern two visits carried out in 1997 and 1999.
30/10/2002
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During the 1997 visit, the CPT found that, in recent years, there had been a marked improvement in the manner in which detained persons were treated by the police. However, extremely poor conditions of detention prevailed in many police arrest houses. Detainees were held for prolonged periods in unhygienic and overcrowded cells, with no mattresses and a meagre amount of food. During a follow-up visit carried out in 1999, the CPT noted the first positive steps taken by the Estonian authorities to improve this situation.

  The conditions of detention of remand prisoners observed at Tallinn Central Prison in 1997 were intolerable. Deplorable material conditions were compounded by a total absence of activities. In their responses, the Estonian authorities provide detailed information on the measures taken to improve conditions of detention in the establishment and throughout the prison system. 

  Many allegations of ill-treatment of patients were received at Valkla Social Welfare House during the 1997 visit. Further, the establishment was not adequately resourced, particularly in terms of staff. During a follow-up visit in 1999, the CPT noted that the situation had significantly improved. No allegations of ill-treatment were heard, and special training had been organised for staff.

  The CPT reports and the responses of the Estonian authorities are available on the CPT’s website (http://www.cpt.coe.int).