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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Cyprus

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a visit to Cyprus from 2 to 9 February 2017. It was the Committee's seventh visit to the country.
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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Cyprus

The CPT’s delegation reviewed the measures taken by the Cypriot authorities to implement recommendations made by the Committee after its 2013 visit. To this end, it examined the treatment of persons detained by the police (including immigration detainees) and the safeguards offered to them. Particular attention was paid to the effectiveness of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by public officials. The delegation also examined the situation at Nicosia Central Prison, Menoyia Detention Centre for Illegal Immigrants and Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital and visited a number of social care homes.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held consultations with the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Ionas Nicolaou, the Minister of Health, George Pamboridis, and the Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurances, Zeta Emilianidou, as well as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Constantinos Nicolaides. It also met senior officials from the Ministries of Justice and Public Order, Interior and Finance, from the Cyprus Police as well as from the Ministries of Health and Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. Further, the delegation held discussions with the Attorney-General, Costas Clerides, the Chairperson of the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints Against the Police, Andreas Spyridakis, and with members of the Bar Association, the Prison Board and the Mental Health Committee.

The delegation also met the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsperson), Eliza Savvidou, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Leda Koursoumba, and representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and civil society active in areas of concern to the CPT.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary findings to the Cypriot authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

  • James McManus, Head of delegation
  • Georg Høyer
  • Vassilis Karydis
  • Mark Kelly
  • Anna Molnar
  • Olga Noyanova.

They were supported by Francesca Gordon and Sebastian Rietz, of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Alan Mitchell, medical doctor and Chair of the Independent Prisons Monitoring Advisory Group, Scotland, United Kingdom (expert).

The delegation visited the following establishments:

Ministry of Justice and Public Order

  •  Nicosia Central Prison
  • Immigration detention facilities:
    • Holding facilities for immigration detainees at Larnaca Airport
    • Holding facility for immigration detainees at Paphos Airport
    • Kokkinotrimithia Rescue Camp
    • Menoyia Detention Centre for Illegal Immigrants
  • Police establishments:
    • Larnaca Division
      • Aradippou Police Station
      • Larnaca Central Police Station*
    • Limassol Division
      • Limassol Central Police Station
    • Nicosia Division
      • Lakatamia Police Station
      • Nicosia Central Police Station
      • Pera Chorio Nisou Police Station
    • Paphos Division
      • Paphos Central Police Stations
      • Polis Chrysochous Police Station

Ministry of Health

  • Anosi Drug Rehabilitation Centre at the old Limassol General Hospital*
  • Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital, Nicosia
  • Psychiatric Clinic of Limassol General Hospital*
  • Psychiatric Clinic of Nicosia General Hospital*

Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance

  • "Agios Christophoros” Homes, Nicosia*
  • “Agios Georgios” Home, Larnaca
  • “Agios Ioannis” Home for the Elderly and the Disabled, Limassol*
  • “Ariadni” Rehabilitation Home, Nicosia
  • Institution for Unaccompanied Teenage Girls, Larnaca*

 * targeted visit

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