Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee interrupts visit to the Transnistrian region of Moldova

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) began a visit to the Transnistrian region (*) of Moldova on 21 July 2010. Against the background of the CPT’s reports on its previous visits to the region in 2000, 2003 and 2006, the intention of the delegation was to review the situation of persons deprived of their liberty in police and prison establishments.

Following initial consultations with Sergey Stepanov, the person responsible in the region for justice-related issues, the CPT’s delegation commenced a visit to the remand section (SIZO) of Colony No. 3 in Tiraspol on 22 July 2010. However, the delegation was informed that, unlike the Committee’s previous visits, it would not be allowed to interview remand prisoners in private. Such a restriction contradicts one of the fundamental characteristics of the preventive mechanism embodied by the CPT, namely the power to interview in private any person deprived of his or her liberty. Consequently, the Committee’s delegation decided to interrupt its visit to places of deprivation of liberty in the region until such time as the enjoyment of this power could be guaranteed.

Nevertheless, the CPT’s delegation visited Penitentiary establishments Nos. 8 and 12 in Bender; these establishments are located in an area controlled by the de facto authorities of the Transnistrian region but form part of the prison system of the Republic of Moldova. The opportunity was also taken to review the treatment of persons detained by the Moldovan police. In this context, the delegation paid follow-up visits to Temporary detention isolators in Anenii Noi and Bender, as well as to the Temporary detention isolator of the General Police Directorate in Chişinău. Further, the delegation interviewed in private a number of newly-arrived remand prisoners at Chişinău Penitentiary establishment No. 13 on the subject of their treatment by the police.

At the end of the visit, the CPT's delegation had a meeting with Alexandru Tănase, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, and senior officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecution Service and the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, and presented to them its preliminary observations.

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

- Jean-Pierre Restellini (Swiss), Head of delegation
- Anna Lamperová (Slovak)
- Joan Miquel Rascagneres (Andorran).

They were supported by Johan Friestedt of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Jürgen Seiger, Public Health Officer, Münster (Germany).

Source: Council of Europe. Published in Strasbourg on 30 July 2010

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