Committee against Torture
Summary record of the 1633rd meeting
Held at the Palais Wilson, Geneva, on Friday, 4 May 2018, at 10 a.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention (continued)
Third periodic report of Tajikistan
The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention (continued)
Third periodic report of Tajikistan(CAT/C/TJK/3; CAT/C/TJK/Q/3; and CAT/C/TJK/Q/3/Add.1
At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Tajikistan took places at the Committee table.
Mr. Rahmon (Tajikistan), introducing the State party’s report, said that a plan of action to implement the recommendations of the Committee and the Special Rapporteur on torture following his visit in 2012 had been adopted in 2013. The Special Rapporteur had reported favourably on the status of implementation of those recommendations after his follow-up visit in 2014. In 2017, the Government Commission on International Human Rights Obligations had gone through fundamental reform with a view to improving its coordination of the work of the relevant State bodies in that area. Under its new regulations, the work of the Commission was under the supervision of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society, which participated in the activities of the Commission in a consultative capacity. Representatives from the ministries had been appointed to coordinate with the Commission in drafting reports and acting on international recommendations. A national action plan for the period 2017–2020 had also been adopted to implement the recommendations made within the framework of the universal periodic review.
A bill to amend article 143¹ of the Criminal Code, aimed at preventing torture and reinforcing penalties for offenders, was currently under consideration. With a view to giving effect to the Committee’s recommendations on the independence of the judiciary from the executive branch, the Council of Justice had been dissolved under constitutional amendments introduced in 2016 and its powers had been transferred to the Supreme Court.
In June 2017, a national action plan for the reform of the juvenile justice system had been adopted for the period 2017–2021 to ensure respect for the rights of young offenders and provide appropriate treatment, including rehabilitation and reintegration into society, and to offer psychological care for child witnesses and victims of crime. With the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and civil society, training courses on juvenile justice had been conducted for procurators, judges and staff of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. In 2016, the Office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights had been established, with the power to visit places of detention and special institutions without prior authorization and investigate complaints of torture or ill-treatment.
The Government was currently considering ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention under the national action plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the Human Rights Council. In 2013, the Commissioner for Human Rights had set up a working group composed of representatives of State bodies, academia and civil society to promote the ratification of the Optional Protocol. It reviewed national legislation and studied existing models of national preventive mechanisms and had carried out information sessions on the Optional Protocol for State authorities, civil society and the media, in which some 300 persons had participated. An independent group attached to the working group that had been established to monitor places of deprivation of liberty had conducted over 60 visits to correctional institutions, military units and military recruitment offices between 2014 and 2017.
In 2016, amendments had been made to the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Act on Procedures and Conditions for the Custody of Suspects, Accused Persons and Defendants with a view to strengthening fundamental legal safeguards for detained persons. During the reporting period, 20 cases of unlawful detention had been identified and investigated by the Office of the Procurator General. Over 30 seminars had been held to inform the relevant officials of the amendments. Evidence obtained through torture was not admitted in proceedings and officials found guilty of permitting torture for that purpose were held accountable. During investigations into claims of torture, alleged offenders were temporarily removed from their posts and interviews were conducted with all suspects, witnesses, medical professionals and staff working in the detention facility. Decisions had been issued on reparation for victims of torture in eight criminal proceedings, including two penalties involving monetary compensation.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended in 2014, a person could not be extradited if there was evidence to suggest that he or she might be tortured in the receiving State. Assessments of the risk of torture took into account reports from the media, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the views of the person to be extradited. The Government of the receiving State was required to provide written assurances that the person in question would not be subjected to torture or ill-treatment.
Working groups had been set up to ensure that training in accordance with the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol) was provided to judges, lawyers, forensic specialists, and doctors and psychiatrists working with persons in detention, in cooperation with international organizations and civil society associations. Under the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, protocols had been drawn up on medical assistance for persons in detention, requiring medical professionals to conduct examinations of detainees to ascertain whether they had been subjected to torture or ill-treatment, to document any signs of torture and request criminal forensic investigations when such cases arose. In 2016, jointly with the Centre for Human Rights, the training centre of the Supreme Court conducted training courses for judges on the Istanbul Protocol and lawyers on the documentation of torture and ill-treatment and, in 2018, training on investigations into torture was provided for over 70 staff members of the Office of the Procurator General. More than 150 training events relating to the Istanbul Protocol had been conducted during the reporting period.
Legislation on amnesty set out a list of offences for which an amnesty could not be granted, including acts of torture. Under the Framework on Political and Educational Work in the Armed Forces, approved in 2015 to provide training to members of the armed forces, a manual on the prevention of violations of the regulations on relations, suicides and offences in the armed forces and a guide on preventing, recording and investigating ill-treatment in the armed forces had been adopted. In addition, a manual had been introduced for the prevention and investigation of cases of hazing in the military. Between 2017 and 2018, some 125 criminal cases had come before the military courts, with around 160 persons convicted.
In 2014, the State Domestic Violence Prevention Programme for the period 2014–2023 had been adopted and the Code of Administrative Offences had been amended to establish liability for violations of legislation on domestic violence. The criminalization of domestic violence was currently being considered. Between 2015 and 2017 there had been a steady decrease in the number of cases of domestic violence brought before the courts. In 2017, just over 80 persons had been convicted for domestic violence. A penal system reform strategy for the period up to 2025 had been implemented to bring conditions of detention into line with international standards, better protect the rights of prisoners and reduce recidivism, among other objectives. New remand centres were under construction, including facilities for longer visits to detainees. The budget for correctional facilities had been increased and food provision had been improved. With an eye to strengthening victim protection, the Trafficking in Persons and Assistance to Victims Act had been passed, which established a list of offences involving trafficking in persons and improved the referral mechanism for victims.
Ms. Gaer (Country Rapporteur), welcoming the changes that had been made in the country, said that both the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression had expressed concerns about cases of torture, impunity for perpetrators and the Government’s treatment of the opposition. While the State party might be undergoing a particularly difficult period, article 2 of the Convention provided that no exceptional circumstances could be used as a justification of torture. She asked which governmental body was competent to address human rights issues and what role the Ministry of Security played in the implementation of the Convention.
The report provided details of one of the three convictions for torture of law enforcement officers in the reporting period and she would like information on the two remaining cases, particularly the titles and sentences handed down and the articles of the Criminal Code under which the offenders were sentenced. She would appreciate it if the delegation could comment on NGO reports that, in one of those cases, a former criminal investigator from Sarband District had been given a suspended 2-year sentence in 2013 and, in another, a police officer had been sentenced to prison for 3.5 years by the Rogun City Court in 2015. Information before the Committee in general showed that, over a five-year period, only three persons had been convicted for torture, with a maximum prison sentence of 3.5 years. In addition, the rate of complaints resulting in criminal investigation was extremely low. She would be grateful for data on any other cases of torture or ill-treatment that had been brought before the courts under other articles of the Criminal Code. She asked whether data was collected in the State party to ensure that all complaints and investigations into cases of torture and ill-treatment received by the authorities were tracked, regardless of the article of the Criminal Code under which they had been filed. If that was not the case, would the State party consider setting up a data collection system to that effect?
She would like further information regarding the status of the criminal investigation into the case of Umar Bobojonov, who had been tortured in police custody in 2015 and had subsequently died of his injuries, including whether redress had been provided to his family pursuant to article 14 of the Convention. Concerning the investigation of complaints of torture, she asked what steps had been taken to make the necessary human, financial and material resources available to the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights so that it could be accredited with category A status under the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) and investigate allegations of torture more effectively. She would also appreciate updated information on the number of complaints of torture received and investigated by the Office during the reporting period, including how many cases it had referred to the Office of the Procurator General for criminal prosecution. It would be interesting to know what recourse the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights had at its disposal in cases where the Procurator General declined to open a criminal investigation and whether efforts had been made either to strengthen the effectiveness of investigations into complaints of torture or ill-treatment by the Office of the Procurator General. Further information regarding the right of the Commissioner for Human Rights to visit and issue recommendations to all places of deprivation of liberty, including police premises and facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, would also be welcome.
Regarding the monitoring of places of detention, she would appreciate updated data on the number of visits to detention facilities conducted by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the monitoring group composed of representatives of State bodies and the Civil Society Coalition against Torture and Impunity, including information on the number of acts of torture or ill-treatment identified during those visits and the status of any subsequent investigations. It would be particularly interesting to know how many independent visits the monitoring group had undertaken since its establishment in 2014, including the outcomes of those inspections, and whether additional resources had been made available with a view to strengthening its monitoring functions. She wondered whether the monitoring group had the right to interview detainees in private and to inspect all places of detention, including pretrial detention centres. She would also be interested to know whether NGOs had the right to conduct their own visits to detention facilities. Had a confidential, independent complaints mechanism been established for persons deprived of their liberty who had been subjected to torture or ill-treatment?
Concerning the allegations of torture involving high-profile political opposition figures, she would be grateful for updated information regarding the status of criminal investigations into the cases of Mahmadali Hayit, Rahmatullo Rajab and Umarali Husaynov, members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan who had been arrested by the national authorities following an alleged failed coup attempt. She would also like to know whether reports that the three men had been tortured by officials of the Police Unit for Combating Organized Crime while in pretrial detention had been formally investigated, and if so, by which authority. Referring to the case of Djovijon Khakimov who had allegedly been tortured while being held in incommunicado detention, she asked what efforts had been made to bring the perpetrators involved to justice and end the use of police stations and office facilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as places of incommunicado detention.
Turning to the issue of fundamental legal safeguards, she asked what action had been taken to address the dramatic decrease in the number of practising lawyers following the amendments to the Bar and Advocacy Act governing the powers, rights and obligations of lawyers and the ensuring limited access of persons deprived of their liberty to an independent lawyer. It would be useful to know what steps had been taken to protect lawyers, as well as complainants and their families, from reprisals as a result of filing complaints of torture and to undertake investigations into any such cases. Further information on the status of the investigations into the cases of the lawyers Shuhrat Kudratov, Buzurgmehr Yorov, Nuriddin Mahkamov and Dzhamshed Yorov, who had allegedly been arrested, detained and prosecuted in retaliation for their work, would be welcome in that regard. It would particularly be interesting to learn more about the case of Firuz Tabarov, one of two sons of the lawyer Ishkok Tabarov who had been arrested and imprisoned based on a confession obtained using torture, including which authorities had been responsible for investigating his torture claims. She wondered whether the State party would drop the charges against the lawyers in the aforementioned cases pursuant to the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and strengthen the ability of the public authorities to receive and effectively investigate reports of retaliation by public officials against victims of torture and their lawyers.
In respect of the State party’s legal framework, she asked when the amendments to article 143 of the Criminal Code increasing the penalties for the crime of torture would come into effect and whether the proposed amendment would expressly prohibit the granting of amnesty to persons convicted of violating article 143¹. She also wished to know whether the Government intended to lengthen the statute of limitations for acts of torture to 10 years. It would be useful to know whether, following the adoption of the proposed amendment, prosecutors, investigators and other officials would be prevented from terminating investigations into allegations of torture under article 143¹ of the Criminal Code on the grounds that the perpetrator had repented or reconciled with the victim. She would particularly welcome assurances that alleged perpetrators of acts constituting torture would be charged with violations of article 143¹ rather than other articles of the Criminal Code such as article 391 prohibiting the abuse of authority.
Regarding the programmes launched to combat domestic abuse, she wished to know what efforts had been made to address the underreporting of acts of domestic violence and to provide appropriate training to law enforcement officers, medical personnel and other officials so that they could identify victims more easily. She would appreciate the delegation’s comments on allegations that police and other public officials often encouraged victims to return home and reconcile with their abusers rather than apply for a restraining order or press criminal charges. Further information on the sentences handed down to perpetrators of domestic violence and the number of restraining orders issued by the police during the reporting period would therefore be very welcome in that context. It would be particularly useful to receive updated information regarding the outcome of the pilot neighbourhood-based project to tackle domestic violence and the progress made by the working group tasked with deciding whether to make domestic violence a criminal offence.
On the subject of trafficking, she asked what the budget was for rehabilitation and support services to victims. She would appreciate receiving data on the number of victims that had benefited from State assistance programmes in recent years and on the prison sentences handed down to those convicted of trafficking.
With regard to the principle of non-refoulement, she asked how many deportations not constituting extradition had been carried out during the reporting period, and to what countries. How many individuals had been returned to Afghanistan? Had they all had access to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the opportunity to apply for asylum? In general, she would like to know whether the State party permitted UNHCR to carry out a refugee status determination for all those subject to deportation.
She would appreciate receiving statistics on the numbers of persons deported for having violated the residency restrictions in government decisions Nos. 325 and 328, and their destination countries and whether there were any plans to amend or repeal decision No. 325.
She wondered whether the Tajik authorities had investigated any allegations made by refugees of ill-treatment by officials of the State Committee for National Security seeking to deport them, and if so, whether any disciplinary measures had been taken.
Lastly, she asked whether the delegation could name any specific cases in which confessions had been ruled inadmissible on the grounds that they had been elicited through torture or ill-treatment.
Ms. Racu (Country Rapporteur) said that she welcomed the incorporation of torture prevention into the curricula of training institutes for judicial and law-enforcement personnel. She would like to know whether training on all the provisions of the Convention was mandatory for judicial, law-enforcement and prison personnel and whether courses were based on their real training needs. She would like to know how many such officials had received training in the Convention in recent years and how many still required training.
She asked whether the basic training curriculum for police and prosecutors covered the gathering of evidence and the conduct of interrogations without the use of unlawful measures, notably coercion. She wondered how many police officers had received training of that kind and how effective it had been. Were the police trained in the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials?
She asked whether police medical officers had received training in the Istanbul Protocol, as prison doctors had, whether the effectiveness of the training had been evaluated, and whether there had been an increase in the number of relevant injuries reported.
She took note of the information the State party had provided on the extensive training programme to prevent human trafficking but would also like to know what training officials received in dealing with cases of domestic violence and violence against children. She also wondered whether mandatory training on the use of force and measures of restraint was provided to military and intelligence officers and security guards.
Civil society access to places of deprivation of liberty was reportedly limited. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had had no such access since 2004 and the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office prison monitoring group were constrained by the requirement to be accompanied by Ombudsman’s Office staff and by their lack of access to documentation and to detainees who had complained of torture or ill-treatment.
She would like to know what action had been taken to overcome the remaining obstacles to ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and to expedite that process.
She would be interested to know how many inspections had been carried out, and to what effect, under the new procedure whereby prosecutors were required to inspect temporary holding facilities, holding centres and military detention barracks at least every five days and whether prisons were also inspected. She wondered how many recommendations had been issued.
The Committee had received reports that persons deprived of their liberty were sometimes categorized as “witnesses” rather than as suspects, and in other cases were detained on administrative charges or for the purpose of “conversations”, which were not defined in law but were far from voluntary. She would like to know how the State party ensured that such witnesses were not subjected to torture. She would appreciate it if the delegation could clarify whether the recent amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure included a definition of the moment when arrest began and whether persons held on administrative charges had the right to challenge the legality of their detention. She asked whether the status of suspects, accused persons and witnesses was defined in law and whether each category enjoyed the same procedural safeguards from the moment of deprivation of liberty.
Noting that the State party had done nothing to put a stop to the practice of holding persons on administrative charges until they could be officially arrested as a suspect in a criminal investigation, she said that she would appreciate the delegation’s comments on that situation.
The Committee welcomed the legislative amendments improving the legal safeguards for detainees, notably in respect of medical examinations and contact with family members and counsel.
However, the time limit of 72 hours from the moment of arrest before being brought before a judge remained in place despite the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee and the Special Rapporteur on torture. She would like to know whether any steps had been taken to reduce that period to 48 hours. Moreover, it would appear that the safeguards introduced under the recent amendments were not consistently applied. The experience of Mr. Djovidon Khakimov was a case in point: his remand hearing had reportedly taken place over a week after being taken into custody, including several days in incommunicado detention during which he had allegedly been tortured. His lawyer’s request for a medical examination had been rejected and the Joint Task Force to Counteract Extremism and Terrorism, which comprised representatives of the Procurator General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Committee for National Security, had subsequently concluded that he had not been subjected to physical abuse.
She would appreciate it if the delegation could provide information on the legal status of the short-term detention rooms in Ministry of Internal Affairs facilities, often used to hold those detained on suspicion of crimes.
The Committee welcomed the fact that the Code of Criminal Procedure now stated that detainees had the right of access to a lawyer from the moment of detention, but was concerned that in some cases investigators pressurized detainees to refuse legal assistance in order to avoid having to arrange for a lawyer’s services or to avoid having a lawyer present during interrogation. In other cases, access to a lawyer was subject to the investigator’s agreement, or meetings were not confidential, since an official usually remained in the meeting room. NGOs found it difficult to access the regulations of pretrial detention facilities governing access to lawyers, which were classified as “for internal use only”.
She would appreciate receiving comprehensive statistics on all the complaints about non-application of fundamental safeguards submitted since the recent amendments had entered into force. She would like to know what the results had been and what steps the State party intended to take to improve detainees’ access to a lawyer.
The adoption of the Policy Framework for Free Legal Aid had been a positive step and the Committee would be interested to know how many people had been granted free legal aid and pro bono assistance from lawyers.
The introduction of a form based on the Istanbul Protocol, for use by medical personnel when examining detainees and recording signs of torture was a welcome and progressive measure but had not been matched by subsequent practice. Detainees were examined by medical personnel who were not independent, being either employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the prison administration, or supervised by the Ministry of Health. Indeed, there were no forensic medical institutions outside the government system and no legislation to regulate independent forensic examinations had been adopted. She would like to know whether there had been any change in the situation in respect of independent forensic examinations, including with regard to documentation of the psychological effects of torture. Similarly, she would appreciate information on any improvements made in medical care in police and prison establishments, including medical examinations on admission, the procurement of medication and equipment and the maintenance of medical registers on admission and before release from police custody. Did every detainee in prisons and police and pretrial detention facilities undergo routine medical examination, including a psychological evaluation, and was a copy of the results provided to the detainee? In police facilities, did doctors receive training in identification of signs of torture?
Recalling that, in its previous concluding observations, the Committee had made various recommendations about video and audio recording in detention facilities, she asked the delegation which facilities had been equipped with video cameras and whether all interrogations were recorded on video. What other steps had been taken to comply with the Committee’s recommendations and to ensure that the recordings were stored and made available to investigators and lawyers?
She asked what impact the new police bill would have on the use of force and arms and measures of restraint by law-enforcement officers.
She commended the State party for the significant improvements it had made in some prison facilities. However, conditions still did not always meet international standards and, according to some sources, were harsh and life-threatening. She would appreciate updated statistics on the prison population, with details of the specific prisons where overcrowding and poor conditions were worst. She would like to know what minimum living space per prisoner was provided for in law and what the budget allocation per prisoner was for food. What steps had been taken to combat overcrowding?
She wondered what percentage of the prison population was being held in pretrial detention and whether numbers had increased during the reporting period. She asked how the State intended to improve the conditions in the Vahdat remand centre and detention centre No. 1 in Dushanbe. The Committee wondered whether the new high-security prison currently under construction in Vahdat would meet international standards. It was also concerned about the transfer of authority for temporary and pretrial detention facilities from the Ministry of the Interior and the State Committee for National Security to the Ministry of Justice and would appreciate further information on that matter.
Further details on the reintegration, sports and vocational programmes available in prisons would be welcome. She would appreciate updated information on the disciplinary sanctions applied to prisoners and the rules governing the contact they were permitted to have with the outside world. She wished to know the average length of time that detainees spent in solitary confinement.
It would be useful to hear whether any changes had been made or would be made, either in law or in practice, to the harsh conditions of detention experienced by persons serving life sentences. It was unclear how many individuals were serving life sentences and whether they continued to be detained in pretrial facilities. Clarification on whether such prisoners were able to submit complaints of ill-treatment or to speak privately with monitors or prosecutors would also be welcome.
With regard to deaths in custody, she would be grateful for details of the outcomes of the investigations into the deaths of Kurbon Mannonov, Nozimdzhon Tashripov and Ismonboy Boboev. She would be grateful to hear whether any legislative changes had been instituted to make it mandatory to investigate deaths in custody. It would be useful to receive statistics on the number of suicides that had occurred in prisons in recent years and on the causes of deaths in custody.
While she welcomed the development of the State party’s juvenile justice system during the reporting period, she wished to receive details of the number of minors who were being held in pretrial detention or serving custodial sentences. It was unclear whether minors were placed in solitary confinement and, if so, for how long. She wished to learn whether young people were held separately from adults in pretrial facilities and prisons. It would be useful to have an account of the alternatives to detention that were available for juvenile offenders, as well as the educational, vocational, recreational and rehabilitation programmes in place for young detainees. Data would be appreciated on the number of psychologists and social workers employed to work with young people in detention. She would welcome an update on the Government’s plans to appoint specialized juvenile judges and prosecutors.
The Committee remained concerned about the widespread use of corporal punishment against children in homes and schools. It would be helpful to hear about the measures being taken to prevent and prohibit such punishment in educational establishments, including special schools, and to raise awareness of the impact domestic violence had on children. She would appreciate the delegation’s comments on whether there were any plans to establish a mechanism to provide protection and support for children who had experienced domestic violence.
It would useful to receive data on violence committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists. Information would be welcome regarding the situation of persons from that community in detention. She wished to hear about the complaints lodged by such persons in recent years in connection with torture and ill-treatment by police or abuse by non-State actors, and about the subsequent investigations and convictions in those cases.
She would welcome the delegation’s comments on the measures that had been implemented to prevent violent behaviour, including the practice of hazing, in the armed forces and on the effectiveness of those measures. She would be grateful to receive statistics on allegations, complaints, investigations, prosecutions and convictions relating to hazing, torture and ill-treatment in the military. It would be helpful to have an account of the complaints mechanisms available to military personnel and of how many unit inspections had been carried out by military procurators and the outcomes of those inspections. It was unclear whether medical personnel working in the military enjoyed independence and whether they had been trained to detect and document signs of torture and ill-treatment.
Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón (Country Rapporteur) said that it would be useful to have the full text of the Supreme Court decision in June 2012 regarding compensation and rehabilitation for victims of torture. He would welcome details of the legal nature of the judgment, including whether it was binding, and of how it contributed to combating torture. The Committee had received reports that victims of torture had been awarded compensation of between €100 and €5,300; he therefore wished to learn about any plans the Government had to adopt legislation that made clear provision for adequate compensation for victims of torture. It was unclear whether the Government intended to implement judicial guidelines limiting the degree of discretion afforded to courts in deciding the amount of compensation. He would welcome updated information on the number of compensation orders issued by the courts and the amounts awarded, including for individuals who had been subjected to torture between 1995 and 1999. It would be useful to hear how many applications for compensation had been submitted to the authorities. Clarification on the administrative channels available to victims so that they could seek compensation without needing to go through the courts would also be welcome.
He wished to learn about the plans and programmes in place to ensure access to compensation and rehabilitation, including whether medical, psychological, legal and social support was offered and the annual budget allocated to those initiatives. He would appreciate details of the number of doctors, psychologists and lawyers providing assistance to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.
It would be helpful to hear the delegation’s comments regarding the rehabilitation measures that had been provided in the six compensation cases that had been settled between 2012 and 2016. He would appreciate clarification of whether services offered to the victims in those cases had been provided by the authorities or by non-governmental organizations.
Ms. Belmir said that the Committee remained concerned about the wide discretion granted to the procurator’s office under the Amnesty Act of 2011 to commute, reduce or suspend the sentences of persons convicted of torture.
Mr. Hani said that he wished to hear whether there had been any cases of the withdrawal of refugee status under the provisions of government decisions Nos. 325 and 328. He would appreciate receiving a breakdown of such cases by nationality and ethnicity, since the Committee had received information suggesting the targeting of Afghan refugees of Hazara ethnicity. He would be interested to learn whether there were any bodies in the State party that were competent to inspect psychiatric facilities and whether those facilities had mechanisms for receiving complaints of ill-treatment. Details regarding the number of such complaints received and the outcomes of any investigations of them would be welcome.
The Chair said that, while he was encouraged by the fact that the World Health Organization had recognized the State party’s START Plus Project as an example of good practice in the area of the management of tuberculosis in correctional facilities, he was concerned by the increasing rate of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and of combined tuberculosis and HIV infections. He wished to know whether the authorities planned to include tuberculosis and HIV screening as part of the medical examination conducted when prisoners arrived at a detention facility, in order to determine whether infections occurred inside or outside the prison system.
With regard to the identification of cases of torture, it was unclear whether the Government intended to update the forms used by psychiatrists involved in the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, in line with the provisions of the Istanbul Protocol.
Ms. Gaer said that it would be useful to receive an update on whether the State party intended to accept articles 21 and 22 of the Convention, including whether the Government had any specific concerns about the Committee’s complaints procedure. She also wished to hear about any cases of coerced confessions and the relevant investigations.
The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.