Albania: Torture and ill-treatment in places of detention

Extracts from the ARCT Shadow Report to UN

The Albanian penitentiary system is comprised by 22 penitentiary facilities (pretrial detention and prisons); some inherited from the previous Communist regime and some newly built. While the new facilities have significantly raised the standard for conditions of detention, the remaining 19 old facilities face a series of challenges including problems with material conditions, hygiene and lack of professional staff. These problems are well documented in numerous visit reports by the European Committee on Prevention of Torture (CPT) and are thus well know by the Albanian authorities. The situation in police pretrial facilities is of grave concern with approximately, 25% of detainee’s surveyed by ARCT in 2015 reporting being exposed to violence during arrest or custody.

In addition, various internal police inspection reports have documented unsuitable detention conditions and treatments of detainees in police lockups including: overcrowding and prolonged stays for persons in police custodial cells - sometimes up to 10 days and longer compared to the legal limit of 48 hours, substandard physical conditions, lack of access to health and mental health care, inadequate protection for vulnerable persons, abuse of detainees, poor sanitary conditions, lack of adequate accommodation, and juveniles being held with adults.

Monitoring places of deprivation of liberty (particularly police custodial cells and pretrial detention) re-mains the most important element in ending these violations. In accordance with the Albanian Constitution and national legislation, prisons and police authorities have various internal monitoring mechanism. Since 2010, the institution of People’s Advocate has been functioning as the Albanian National Preventive Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

 

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