Tagasi Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee publishes two reports on Albania

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the reports on its July 2003 ad hoc visit and May/June 2005 periodic visit to Albania. Both reports have been made public at the request of the Albanian authorities, together with their responses.
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Many persons interviewed by the CPT’s delegation during the 2003 visit alleged that they had been ill-treated whilst in police custody. Most of these allegations related to ill-treatment during questioning by officers of the criminal police. Following examination of a number of individual cases of alleged ill-treatment, the CPT concluded that the lack of an effective and appropriate response from the prosecuting/judicial and disciplinary authorities could only foster a climate of impunity. The Committee made specific recommendations regarding the effectiveness of investigations into possible ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.

In the pre-trial detention facilities at Elbasan and Shkodra, the CPT’s delegation found extremely poor material conditions combined with a very restrictive regime. Inmates were locked up in their cells for more than 23 hours per day, frequently for prolonged periods (in some cases, up to 20 months).

The 2005 visit revealed that little progress had been made in the implementation of the recommendations previously made by the CPT. In the report on that visit, the Committee called upon the Albanian authorities to take urgent action to improve the situation. In response, the Albanian authorities provided detailed information about various measures taken to improve conditions of detention in pre-trial detention facilities. They also indicated that the 1996 Mental Health Act, which provides procedural safeguards for persons placed in psychiatric hospitals on an involuntary basis, was now being effectively implemented.

In March 2006, the CPT returned to Albania, in order to review the measures taken by the Albanian authorities in response to the recommendations made in previous visit reports. The report on that visit has just been adopted by the CPT and will be transmitted to the Albanian authorities shortly.

The CPT reports on the 2003 and 2005 visits and the responses of the Albanian authorities are available on the CPT’s Website (http://www.cpt.coe.int)