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Suspected international terrorists detained in the United Kingdom: report of the Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee

In a report published today, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) assesses the treatment of foreigners detained in the United Kingdom pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The report, published at the request of the United Kingdom authorities together with their response, concerns a visit carried out in February 2002.
12/02/2003
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The CPT's delegation heard no allegations of physical ill-treatment by police officers of persons detained under the 2001 Act and, with one exception, there were no allegations of physical ill-treatment by prison officers. Some allegations of verbal abuse were received.

Persons detained pursuant to the 2001 Act were being treated as Category A prisoners, the highest security risk classification. Their material conditions of detention were of an adequate standard. However, as regards out-of-cell time and activities, the situation found left a great deal to be desired. In their response, the United Kingdom authorities inform the CPT that persons detained under the 2001 Act have been moved to units capable of offering enhanced activities and that their regime is subject to ongoing review.

As regards health care, the CPT recommended that consideration be given to the specific needs - both present and future - of persons detained under the 2001 Act, in terms of psychological support and/or psychiatric treatment. In their response, the United Kingdom authorities underline the commitment of health care staff to providing an adequate level of care to the detainees.

Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer welcomed the decision to publish these documents and highlighted the constructive spirit which characterises the well-established co-operation between the Committee and the United Kingdom. Mr Schwimmer also expressed his appreciation of the clear statement by the United Kingdom Government that actions taken by its institutions and officials to combat terrorism and to preserve a democratic society will at all times be in accordance with the fundamental human rights of any person against whom action is taken.

The CPT report and the response of the United Kingdom authorities are available on the CPT’s website (http://www.cpt.coe.int)