Back Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee: publication of three reports on Ukraine

In three reports published today, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) assesses the treatment of people detained in Ukraine. These reports, published with the agreement of the Ukrainian authorities together with their responses, concern the three visits carried out between 1998 and 2000.

During each visit, the CPT heard numerous allegations of physical ill-treatment of detainees by members of the criminal police ("opierativniki"); mainly kicks, punches and truncheon blows, but also asphyxiation with a gas mask, suspension by the legs and/or arms and beatings on the soles of the feet. In their most recent response, the Ukrainian authorities set out a range of measures aimed at preventing ill-treatment, including the reform of recruitment procedures and reinforcement of police training.

The 1998 and 1999 reports severely criticise conditions of detention in police central holding facilities (ITTs), where people can be detained for prolonged periods. In its report on the 2000 visit, the CPT notes certain efforts made by the authorities, such as the provision of bedding, the removal of shutters from cell windows with a view to improving access to natural light and the creation of exercise yards.

A series of recommendations have been made concerning the systemic overcrowding in prison establishments, poor material conditions and the treatment of prisoners suffering from tuberculosis. The authorities describe various reforms adopted in 2001 intended to reduce considerably the prison population and improve conditions of detention; for instance, the shutters have also been removed from cell windows in prison establishments in order to improve access to natural light and fresh air. Since July 2001, specific measures have been taken to fight tuberculosis.

In its report on the 2000 visit, the CPT welcomes the formal abolition of the death penalty in Ukraine; however, it stresses that the treatment of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment remains a major source of concern. Measures taken by the authorities in response include more out-of-cell time per day and an increase in the number of parcels and visits.

The CPT will return to Ukraine later this year.

The CPT reports and the responses of the Ukrainian Government are available on the CPT's website:

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