Council of Europe slaps Armenia over inhuman treatment of prisonersSource : http://www.azernews.az/aggression/76716.html
28 January 2015, 14:47 (GMT+04:00)
By Mushvig Mehdiyev
Detainees in Armenia have been subjected to physical or psychological ill-treatment and excessive use of force, reported a committee of the Council of Europe.
The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment published on January 27 its reports on the last two ad hoc visits to Armenia, carried out in April 2013 and in May 2014.
During the visit in April 2013, the CPT’s delegation received a significant number of allegations from detainees that were subjected to physical ill-treatment mainly consisted of punches, kicks, or inappropriate use of batons, at the time of arrest or during subsequent questioning.
Moreover, a number of allegations were received about the threats of physical ill-treatment and repercussions for family members. In several cases, the ill-treatment was of such a severity that it could be considered as torture including extensive beatings, infliction of electric shocks, simulated asphyxiation with a gas mask, blows to the soles of the feet and etc. In a number of cases, the medical examination of the victims and the consultation of medical files by the delegation revealed injuries which were consistent with the allegations of ill-treatment.
In their response, the Armenian authorities indicated that new guidelines have been issued and the training of police officers has been enhanced to prevent the cases of ill-treatment.
However, the CPT's examination into the relevant documentation, including investigation of files related to complaints about police ill-treatment, revealed a number of flaws in the current system in Armenia that clearly undermined the effectiveness of any action taken to detect and investigate such cases. The CPT made a number of specific recommendations to improve the existing procedures for the reporting of injuries and the processing of potential cases of police ill-treatment by prosecutors.
The CPT’s delegation has also carried out a target visit to Yerevan-Kentron Prison to examine the conditions under which the life-sentenced prisoners were being held. In the report, the CPT expressed serious concerns over the failure of Armenia to adhere to specific recommendations made following the previous visits. Thus, no change were observed in the situation of two life-sentenced prisoners, who had been continuously held in solitary confinement for 13 years, without being offered any out-of-cell activity other than outdoor exercise for one hour per day.
The committee emphasized that the conditions, under which the two prisoners were held, could be considered as inhuman and degrading treatment, since neither of them was provided with adequate psychiatric treatment, even though they both suffered from severe mental disorders.
The CPT’s delegation visited Nubarashen and Kentron Prisons in Yerevan in May 2014 in an effort to review the situation of life-sentenced prisoners in the country.
The visit disclosed that many of the specific recommendations previously made by the committee have not been implemented in practice, particularly in regard to the detention regime of life-sentenced prisoners, the restrictions on prisoners’ contact with the outside world and the systematic use of handcuffs. The situation of the two aforementioned life-sentenced prisoners in Kentron prison remained by and large unchanged since the 2013 visit of the committee.
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