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Torture of man in custody influences reforms to end police abuse of detainees

Kaçiu and Kotorri v. Albania  | 2013

Torture of man in custody influences reforms to end police abuse of detainees

The applicant’s beating was of such severity that he had to be carried to the court room by police officers.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, 25th July 2013

Background

Olsi Kaçiu was tortured whilst in police custody. He was forced to give a statement incriminating someone in a crime. The statement was then used against Mr Kaçiu at trial, as evidence that he had failed to report the crime. He was sentenced to two years’ in prison. 

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The court found that Mr Kaçiu had been tortured by police until he could not walk or stand. Given that the criminal prosecution against him had been based solely on evidence obtained through this torture, his trial and conviction had been unfair. This breached his basic rights.

Follow-up

As a result of this case and others, the government introduced legal changes as well as practical and awareness-raising measures. These were all designed to prevent ill-treatment of detainees and the use of evidence obtained as a result.

The reforms included a change to the Criminal Code of Procedure in 2013 to establish the right to access a lawyer when first detained in police custody; a 2014 amendment to the law on the rights of remand prisoners, to introduce clear rules about their treatment; and a new Code of Ethics for prison officers in 2015.