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Ukraine: anti-torture committee concerned about police ill-treatment and poor conditions of detention of remand and life-sentenced prisoners

In the report on its November 2016 visit to Ukraine, published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) expresses serious concern about the frequency of allegations of ill-treatment by police officers (such as slaps, punches, kicks or blows with a truncheon or a plastic bottle filled with water). In most cases, the ill-treatment was allegedly inflicted by operational police officers attempting to obtain confessions or other information. In a number of cases, the CPT’s delegation also gathered medical evidence consistent with the allegations made. The CPT calls upon the Ukrainian authorities to pursue a policy of “zero tolerance” of police ill-treatment.
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Ukraine: anti-torture committee concerned about police ill-treatment and poor conditions of detention of remand and life-sentenced prisoners

The CPT acknowledges the Ukrainian authorities’ ongoing legislative and organisational reforms of the prison system and the efforts to reduce the prison population. That said, the CPT expresses its dismay at the appalling conditions of detention in the pre-trial establishments (SIZOs) visited, in particular in Odesa, Khmelnytskiy and Kyiv. In addition, the situation of prison staff continues to be very problematic in the entire prison system.

Compared to the findings of previous visits, the situation has significantly improved in two Correctional Colonies (Nos. 25 and 100) in terms of ill-treatment by custodial staff and inter-prisoner violence. However, a number of recent and credible allegations of physical ill-treatment of life-sentenced prisoners by custodial staff were received at Colony No. 100. Further, hardly any of the specific recommendations made by the Committee after previous visits regarding the situation of life-sentenced prisoners have been implemented. This concerns in particular the continued practice of routine handcuffing of life-sentenced prisoners, other excessive and degrading security measures, the lack of organised purposeful activities, prohibition of any contact between prisoners in different cells, segregation from the rest of the prisoner population, and constant CCTV surveillance inside the cells. Further, the Committee recalls that the law should offer a realistic prospect of conditional release to all sentenced prisoners, including life-sentenced prisoners.

The CPT’s report has been made public under an automatic publication procedure introduced by the Ukrainian authorities in 2014.

The response of the Ukrainian authorities is forthcoming and will be published in due course.

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