Geri Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on San Marino

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today the report on its January/February 2013 visit to San Marino, together with the response of the San Marino authorities.

During the visit, the CPT delegation paid particular attention to conditions of detention at San Marino Prison, safeguards for persons detained by law enforcement agencies and psychiatric patients subjected to “compulsory medical treatment” (TSO).  The delegation also visited two homes for the elderly.
The report states that no allegations of ill-treatment or any other indication of such acts were received by the delegation at any of the places of deprivation of liberty visited.
On the subject of detention by law enforcement agencies, the Committee welcomes the progress made to strengthen safeguards against ill-treatment.  Nevertheless, it wishes to be informed of the legislative work envisaged to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to recognise the right to inform a relative or a third party of one’s detention and the right of access to a lawyer and to a doctor.  It also recommends that persons apprehended by law enforcement agencies be systematically informed of their rights orally and subsequently in writing.  In their response, the authorities of San Marino state that a form has been produced in several languages to inform apprehended persons of their rights.
The delegation noted the good general condition of the prison, but also its small size.  The report recommends that the necessary measures be taken to enable a greater number of inmates to participate in activities.  On the subject of health care in the prison, the authorities should, amongst other things, organise nursing care and ensure that medical confidentiality is respected. 
The report notes that no disciplinary sanctions seem to have been imposed recently.  However, it once again recommends that a disciplinary procedure is put in place which complies with the principles set out by the CPT.  Since the Gendarmerie is in charge of the management and security of the prison, the report invites the authorities to keep prison duties separate from criminal investigation duties and to improve training for the staff assigned to the establishment.  In their response, the San Marino authorities supply information about staff training and about the consideration being given to extending the prison and amending the prison legislation.
As regards the deprivation of liberty of foreign nationals in an irregular situation, the CPT recommends that the San Marino authorities provide for a procedure which guarantees an individual assessment of the risk of ill-treatment in the event of removal, and also recommends that the prison, even if it is empty, not be used as humanitarian accommodation for such persons.
On the subject of involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation, the report welcomes the adoption of the Mental Health Act of 2009, which takes up a number of the CPT’s previous recommendations.  However, measures should be taken to set up a medical unit to provide appropriate care to patients in a state of acute crisis.  The CPT also recommends tighter regulation of mechanical restraint procedures and the length of time for which they may be used.
In the homes for the elderly visited, most of the residents were, without any legal grounds, deprived of their freedom of movement outside the perimeter of the establishment. In order to prevent any possible abuse, the CPT recommends that all cases of persons no longer in a position to express their valid consent should be communicated to the guardianship judge to assess the need for a placement measure.
The visit report and the government response have been made public at the request of the San Marino authorities.

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