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Council of Europe: conditions in Belgian prisons during strikes "intolerable"
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"Strasbourg, 18 November 2016 – In its report published today, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) describes the disturbing situation it found during its visit in May 2016 to Huy, Ittre and Jamioulx prisons, as well as in the social defence establishment (EDS) in Paifve in the context of industrial action by prison staff.

In the establishments visited, virtually all the prison staff were absent from their posts, and the prisons were functioning solely due to the efforts of management staff and a handful of volunteer prison and health service employees assisted by police officers or other reassigned staff. Even so, this was not sufficient to ensure acceptable conditions of detention.

Consequently, the vast majority of prisoners interviewed during the visit had been unable to leave their cells to exercise, take part in activities or use the telephone for about two weeks. Similarly, most visits by family members and lawyers could not take place. Many prisoners remained locked up in their cells around the clock, often with one or more cell-mates. The three daily meals were all served at once and the "hot" meal was not always hot. Hygiene conditions were made difficult by random access to showers, often at very long intervals, as well as difficulties in changing or washing clothes."

See: Intolerable detention conditions in certain Belgian prisons during May 2016 strikes, says Council of Europe's anti-torture committee (Council of Europe, link)

And: the report: Rapport au Gouvernement de la Belgique relatif à la visite effectuée en Belgique par le Comité européen pour la prévention de la torture et des peines ou traitements inhumains ou dégradants (CPT) du 7 au 9 mai 2016 (pdf)

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