Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Cyprus

Strasbourg, 15.04.2008 - The Council of Europe's Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its fourth visit to Cyprus in December 2004, together with the responses of the Cypriot authorities. These documents have been made public at the request of the Cypriot Government.

The report reviews the situation of persons detained by the police, including immigration detainees. The information gathered during the visit indicated that physical ill-treatment by the police remained a problem in Cyprus. The CPT made a series of recommendations designed to address that issue.

Despite efforts being made to upgrade conditions of detention in police facilities, certain deficiencies were observed in establishments visited and were the subject of recommendations. The CPT also expressed serious concern about the practice of holding persons, in particular immigration detainees, for prolonged periods in police detention facilities.

Having re-examined the situation at Nicosia Central Prisons, the CPT made a number of recommendations concerning prison overcrowding, material conditions, regime activities offered to prisoners, medical screening of prisoners and the treatment of mentally ill prisoners, among other issues.

The report also covers the situation at Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital, where it was noted that living conditions for patients had improved since the CPT’s previous visit in 2000. Recommendations were made aimed at diversifying therapeutic programmes and increasing the number of medical and other qualified treatment staff.

For the first time in Cyprus, the CPT also visited two places accommodating children in the care of the authorities. The situation in these establishments was found to be generally satisfactory.

In their responses, the Cypriot authorities provide information on measures taken which address concerns raised in the CPT’s report, including the adoption in 2005 of the Law on the Rights of Arrested and Detained Persons, as well as the refurbishment of police cells and of certain sections of Nicosia Central Prisons.

The CPT's visit report and the responses of the Cypriot authorities are available on the Committee's website (

They are also available here: