Nazaj Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes reports on Moldova

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has published today the report on its fourth periodic visit to Moldova in September 2007, together with the response of the Moldovan authorities. These documents have been made public with the agreement of the Moldovan Government.

In the light of the information gathered during the 2007 visit, the CPT concluded that, despite clear efforts made by the Moldovan authorities in recent years, the phenomenon of ill-treatment by the police remained of serious proportions. The Committee has called upon the authorities to continue to deliver, from the highest level, a strong message of “zero tolerance” of ill-treatment. The CPT has also asked the authorities to carry out an inquiry into allegations of ill-treatment by staff at the temporary detention facility (IDP) of the General Police Directorate in Chişinău. The report contains recommendations aimed at strengthening the formal safeguards against ill-treatment, improving screening for injuries and introducing independent monitoring of police detention facilities.

Conditions of detention in IDPs continued to render them unsuitable for holding remand prisoners for prolonged periods of time. The CPT has called upon the authorities to give the highest priority to the implementation of the decision to transfer the responsibility for persons remanded in custody to the Ministry of Justice.

As regards the prisons visited in 2007, no allegations of recent physical ill-treatment of inmates by staff were received, with the exception of Penitentiary establishment No. 18 in Brăneşti. At Penitentiary establishment No. 13 in Chişinău, the CPT’s delegation focused on the manner in which a mass disobedience by inmates on 6 September 2007 had been handled, and expressed concern about the proportionality of the force used by staff.

Prison overcrowding remained a problem, there being on average only 2 m² of living space per prisoner in the establishments visited. The CPT has stressed the need for adopting policies designed to limit or modulate the number of persons sent to prison. The report also contains recommendations aimed at improving the conditions of detention of life-sentenced prisoners at Penitentiary establishment No. 17 in Rezina as well as the situation of inmates with multi-resistant TB held in that establishment.

A follow-up visit was carried out to Penitentiary establishment No. 8 in Bender. This establishment, located in the Transnistrian region, is part of the prison system of the Republic of Moldova and has been the subject of four visits by the CPT. It was clear at the time of the 2007 visit that the Moldovan authorities had taken steps to alleviate, as far as possible, the difficult situation of prisoners in this establishment. Nevertheless, the Committee has called upon the Moldovan authorities to pursue actively negotiations with the municipal authorities of Bender, with a view to restoring the supply of running water and electricity as well as the connection to the municipal sewage disposal system.

At Chişinău Clinical Psychiatric Hospital, most of the patients spoke positively of the attitude of health-care staff. The CPT has made recommendations aimed at improving the living conditions and treatment of patients, and at strengthening the safeguards in the context of compulsory hospitalisation.

In contrast, at the Psycho-neurological Home in the village of Cocieri, the CPT’s delegation heard many allegations of physical and verbal ill-treatment of residents by orderlies. The Committee has recommended that the selection procedures for orderlies be reviewed and a comprehensive training programme developed for them. Measures to avoid arbitrary placements in psycho-neurological homes have also been recommended.

In their response, the Moldovan authorities provide information on the measures being taken to address the issues raised in the CPT’s report. For example, the authorities have drawn up guidelines for prosecutors on the carrying out of investigations into cases of ill-treatment. Further, prison ethics committees have been set up, with a view to fostering a culture among prison staff where it is regarded as unacceptable to have resort to ill-treatment. The authorities also refer to steps taken to improve the training of orderlies in psychiatric hospitals and psycho-neurological homes, and to employ more staff.

The Moldovan authorities have also authorised the publication of two earlier CPT reports, concerning ad hoc visits carried out in November 2005 and March 2006.

The CPT's visit reports and the responses of the Moldovan authorities are available on the Committee's website at

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