Council of Europe concerned about ill-treatment by the police and detention conditions
The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has expressed concern over the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by the police in Ukraine.
Visiting police and pre-trial establishments from 29 November to 6 December 2011, the CPT delegation received numerous allegations from detained persons (including women and juveniles) that they had been subjected to physical ill-treatment at the time of arrest or during subsequent questioning by police officers. In a number of cases, the ill-treatment alleged was of such a severity that it could be considered to amount to torture.
The CPT delegation examined the health care being provided to certain persons held at the Kyiv SIZO at the time of the visit, including Valeriy Ivashenko, Yuriy Lutsenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. The delegation has in particular expressed concern about the considerable delays observed in arranging specialised medical examinations outside the SIZO. The possible need for additional interventions to be explored in a hospital setting has also been flagged by the delegation.
The CPT delegation called on the authorities to put an immediate end to the practice of handcuffing patients to hospital beds and to respect confidentiality of medical examinations. It also emphasised that the right to inform a close relative or another person of one’s custody, the right of access to a lawyer and a doctor should be applied from the very outset of custody.
Material conditions of detention were generally satisfactory in the police establishments visited. The delegation also gained a positive impression of the situation in the units for juveniles at the Kyiv and Kharkiv pre-trial establishments; however, the conditions of detention were extremely poor in many of the other units of these establishments.
The Ukrainian Government has requested the publication of the preliminary observations, and the full report on the visit will be transmitted to the authorities shortly.