In a report on Spain published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) acknowledges a number of positive developments in police detention and prisons, but is highly critical of the continued resort to the measure of mechanical fixation of persons held in prisons and in centres for juvenile offenders. (See also the Spanish version of the report as well as its summary in English and Spanish).
During its 2016 periodic visit to the country, the CPT’s delegation found that the vast majority of people detained by law enforcement agencies stated that they had been treated correctly by police officers. However, the delegation did receive some credible allegations of excessive use of force upon apprehension and of physical ill-treatment upon arrival at police stations.
As regards the incommunicado detention regime, the CPT acknowledges that its scope has been limited by legislative amendments in 2015 and notes positively that incommunicado detention was not ordered in 2015 or 2016. However, the Committee considers that given the intrinsic potential for ill-treatment of criminal suspects under such a regime, it should be removed altogether from the statute book.
In their response, the Spanish authorities address the cases of alleged ill-treatment and state that measures are being taken to improve conditions of detention in police stations. As regards the incommunicado detention regime, the authorities restate that it is necessary to retain such a measure in the context of the fight against terrorism (See also the response in Spanish).