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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Germany

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a periodic visit to Germany from 1 to 14 December 2020. This was the CPT’s seventh periodic visit to this country.
15/12/2020
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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Germany

In the course of the visit, the delegation examined the treatment and conditions of detention of persons held in several police establishments and prisons, as well as the treatment, living conditions and legal safeguards offered to forensic psychiatric patients in two Länder. In this connection, it reviewed the measures taken by the relevant authorities to implement various recommendations made by the Committee after the previous visit carried out in 2015. Particular attention was also paid to the situation of inmates held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods in prisons and to the use of other special security measures (including mechanical restraint – Fixierung) in various types of establishment.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held consultations with Ms Margaretha Sudhof, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Mr Georg Eisenreich, State Minister of Justice (Bavaria), Mr Frank Arloth, Head of Office (Amtschef) of the Ministry of Justice (Bavaria), Ms Melanie Schlotzhauer, State Councillor of the Office of Labour, Heath, Social Affairs, Family and Integration (Hamburg), Mr Dirk Wedel, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice (North Rhine-Westphalia), Ms Beate Bröcker, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Integration (Saxony-Anhalt). The delegation also met senior officials from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry of the Interior as well as from relevant ministries of different Länder.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the German authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

  • Hans Wolff (Head of Delegation)
  • Vânia Costa Ramos
  • Gergely Fliegauf
  • Nico Hirsch
  • Julia Kozma
  • Chila van der Bas.

They were supported by Almut Schröder and Petr Hnátík of the CPT’s Secretariat and assisted by an expert, Veronica Pimenoff, psychiatrist, former Head of Department at Helsinki University Psychiatric Hospital (Finland).

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Baden-Württemberg
  • Freiburg Prison (targeted visit to interview remand prisoners)
Bavaria
  • St. Georgen-Bayreuth Prison
  • Bayreuth-City Police Station
  • Munich Police Headquarters (Polizeipräsidium, Polizeiinspektion ED 6)
Berlin
  • Prison for Women, Berlin (locations Lichtenberg and Pankow)
  • Police Detention Centre, Tempelhofer Damm 12
  • Federal Police Station, Central Railway Station
Brandenburg
  • Potsdam Police Station West
Lower Saxony
  • Rosdorf Prison (targeted visit to interview remand prisoners and inmates held in solitary confinement)
  • Celle Prison (targeted visit to interview inmates held in solitary confinement)
Hamburg
  • Asklepios Forensic Psychiatric Clinic
  • Hamburg Police Station 11
  • Federal Police Station, Central Railway Station
North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Gelsenkirchen Prison
  • Düsseldorf Police Headquarters (Präsidium)
  • Gelsenkirchen Police Headquarters (Präsidium)
Saxony-Anhalt
  • Forensic Psychiatric Clinic Uchtspringe
Schleswig-Holstein
  • Lübeck Prison (targeted visit to interview remand prisoners and inmates held in solitary confinement)

* * *

In addition, the CPT’s delegation examined the treatment and conditions of detention of one person convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) who is serving his sentence in Germany, pursuant to an Exchange of Letters, dated 7 and 24 November 2000, between the ICTY and the CPT regarding the monitoring of the conditions of imprisonment and treatment of certain persons convicted by the Tribunal.