Bulgaria's Prison System Continues to Experience Problems - Council of Europe

Business | November 12, 2015, Thursday // 12:58
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Prison System Continues to Experience Problems - Council of Europe The central prison in Sofia. Photo: BGNES

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) of the Council of Europe published on Thursday the report on its most recent visit to Bulgaria.

The visit, which took place between February 13 and 20, was an opportunity for CPT to assess the progress in the implementation of its long-standing recommendations.

In particular, CPT reviewed the treatment and detention conditions of persons held at investigation detention facilities and prisons.

The report concluded that people detained by police continue to run a significant risk of being ill-treated both at the time of apprehension and during subsequent questioning.

Furthermore, there has been no progress in ensuring the practical implementation of the legal safeguards against police ill-treatment.

Detained persons often did not receive information about their rights, were not able to notify a third party of their custody and did not benefit from the services of a lawyer from the very start of their detention.

The report also noted that the physical ill-treatment of prisoners remains alarming in all the penitentiary establishments visited.

CPT officials were informed of a number of allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment of inmates by staff, which included slaps, punches and kicks.

The Bulgarian authorities acknowledged the findings of the report, expressed concern over the incidents of ill-treatment in penitentiary institutions and outlined measures to address the problems.

CPT also highlighted that overcrowding remains a problem for prisons and closed-type prison hostels.

According to the report, corruption in the prison system remains endemic and the material conditions at the three prisons visited, namely Sofia, Varna and Burgas, remain poor.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Council of Europe, CPT, Torture, detention, prison, ill-treatment, police, corruption
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