European rights council censures UK again on treatment of terror suspects

[JURIST] The Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) [official website] of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe released a report [PDF text] Thursday criticizing the United Kingdom's treatment of terrorist suspects in custody at Belmarsh Prison [official website]. In an accompanying press release, the CPT said that its visit to the facility in March 2004

focused on the impact of the conditions of detention on the mental and physical health of the detainees. It found that many of them were in a poor mental state as a result of their detention, and some were also in poor physical condition. Detention had caused mental disorders in the majority of persons detained under the ATCSA [Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001]. For those who had been subjected to traumatic experiences in the past, it had clearly reawakened the experience. The absence of control resulting from the indefinite character of detention, the uphill difficulty of challenging the detention and the fact of not knowing what evidence was being used against them had a detrimental effect on their health. The CPT concluded that for some of them, their situation at the time of the visit could be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.
This is the Council of Europe's second report in two days [JURIST report] criticizing UK anti-terror laws and their application to detainees. The first report [DOC text] was released Wednesday by the Council's Commissioner for Human Rights and targeted so-called "control orders" - the UK government's method of arbitrarily forcing terrorist suspects to remain on house arrest and adhere to a strict curfew. Read the full CPT press release. BBC News has more.


 

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