Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee publishes report on UK Sovereign Base Areas

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has published its first report on the United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) on Cyprus following a visit to the island in February 2017.

According to a press release issued on Friday, the report assesses conditions of detention and the treatment of people held by the SBA Police and the British Forces Cyprus in various locations including police stations, Her Majesty’s Prison at Dhekelia and military detention facilities. It also briefly examines the situation of migrants held within the SBA.

The CPT received no allegations of treatment by SBA police officers or police staff at HMP Dhekelia, and detainees appeared to be treated well.

However, concerning the police, the CPT highlights delays in providing access to a lawyer, long periods of remand custody at Kolossi Police Station and poor conditions of detention at Dhekelia Police Station. The report also says that the police should no longer use the 16 Flight aircraft hangar as a place of detention, expressing particular concern about the detention of young children and infants there.

With regard to HMP Dhekelia, the report raises concerns about the nature of the accommodation, the lack of organised activities and the totally inadequate regime for prisoners serving long sentences, as well as the lack of medical confidentiality and unsafe distribution of medication. It recommends that a full review should be carried out as to whether the facility remains viable under its current model of operation.

Regarding military detention, which includes civilians subject to service discipline, the CPT recommends that the location and movements of people detained by the Cyprus Joint Police Unit should be fully recorded. The CPT also highlights concerns about the right of access to a lawyer, the functioning of the complaints system and the regime for detainees. It also asks for information on any plans to professionalise staffing at the Service Custody Facility.

The report has been published together with the response from the UK and SBA authorities.

Source: Cyprus News Agency