In a report published today, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) calls on the Latvian authorities to address ill-treatment in police establishments, inter-prisoner violence and the provision of health care in prisons and the detention conditions of life-sentenced prisoners.
In the course of the 2011 visit, the CPT's delegation received a number of allegations from detained persons of physical ill-treatment by the police at the time of apprehension and during questioning. Some of these allegations were corroborated by the delegation's own medical observations and other medical evidence. The CPT concludes in the report that persons in police custody continue to face a certain degree of risk of being subjected to ill-treatment and calls on the Latvian authorities to exercise constant vigilance in this area. As regards conditions of detention in police establishments, the Committee emphasises that the conditions in some of the detention facilities visited were so poor that they could be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.
In their responses, the Latvian authorities refer to training and education programmes offered to police officers on various subjects, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, interrogation techniques, and the use of physical force, special means and weapons. Information is also provided on measures taken to improve material conditions in several police detention facilities.
As regards the situation in prisons, the vast majority of prisoners interviewed made no allegations of physical ill-treatment by staff; nevertheless, some allegations were received, in particular at Jelgava Prison. (more...)
Read also: Latvia and the Council of Europe