Tag Archives: torture

Systemic torture in Russian prisons

Russia must end torture of detainees and prosecute the perpetrators, including prison guards caught on video beating an inmate, United Nations human rights investigators said.

The U.N. Committee against Torture requested from Russian authorities to report back in a year on progress in holding to account guards who beat Yevgeny Makarov with truncheons and their superiors who suppressed the year-old tape, which provoked a public outcry.

Despite “numerous reliable” reports of torture, they rarely lead to prosecutions, or those responsible are charged with simple abuse of authority rather than a crime, said panel member Claude Heller.

“Endemic” police torture in Azerbaijan

Torture in Azerbaijan by police and other law enforcement agencies is “systemic and endemic,” according to a report from the Council of Europe’s torture prevention body.

The report by The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), based on six visits to Azerbaijan from 2004 through 2017, documented repeated cases of “severe physical ill-treatment” of detainees, including some as young as 15. The cases appeared to follow a consistent pattern: mostly occurring in police establishments, during the initial hours of detentions, to coerce confessions or other testimonies.

The torture methods ranged from slaps, kicks, and truncheon blows to beatings on the soles of a suspended victim’s feet and the use of electric shocks.

The CPT also found that perpetrators get away with torture because of a lack of effective investigations and insufficient legal safeguards. Human Rights Watch research has also shown that in Azerbaijan, detainees are often denied access to lawyers of their choosing, and even if complaints are made of serious ill-treatment, the investigations almost never result in anyone being held to account.

Publicizing police abuse can invite official retaliation. Mehman Huseynov, one of Azerbaijan’s most popular bloggers, is serving a two-year prison term on grounds that he “defamed” police officers because he went public about the ill-treatment he had suffered in custody. A group of disguised in civilian cloths officers attacked Huseynov, blindfolded and gagged him, forced a bag over his head, used an electroshock weapon on his groin, and punched him, bloodying his nose. The investigation into Huseynov allegations was swiftly closed after a summary finding that they were groundless.

While the Committee found some improvements, such as renovations of old and building of new prisons, many problems persisted, including overcrowding, lack of meaningful activities for inmates, inadequate medical care, rampant corruption, and a “generalized culture of violence” among prison staff.

Azerbaijan is party to multiple human rights treaties, including the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment of detainees. Azerbaijan’s agreement to publish the Committee’s report – as is required – is an important step. But not enough. Azerbaijan’s leadership should make an unequivocal public statement of “zero tolerance” for torture and other forms of ill-treatment and ensure prompt and effective investigations into all such allegations.

Earlier this month the European Parliament expressed the opinion of MEPs, requesting improvement of human rights situation.

Paris: escaped circus tiger executed

News of the tiger’s escape came after Paris’ public transport authority, RATP, briefly closed down a tramline in the 15th arrondissement, according to France Info – the public radio that broke the news.

Two eyewitnesses told the radio station said they saw the tiger descend onto the tracks.

“At first, we thought it was a technical incident,” said Thomas, a passenger of tramway 3a. “Then the driver told us it was a tiger. Naturally, we wondered what was going on. We were able to leave 15 to 20 minutes later.”

In the meantime, armed police and circus staff had rushed to the scene. At least two shots were reportedly heard.

Reportedly there were no attempts to put the animal to sleep, and evacuate, but just right forward killing was a chosen option. The heartless reaction of the authorities killing the magestic animal damages even further already plagued by misfortunes reputation of the city, losing its image of a dream touristic destination.

Brigitte Bardot Foundation and animal defenders across Europe were indignant about the accident, blaming Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo indifference to animal suffering in circuses. Some witnesses from neighbourhood also claimed they saw the three tigers jammed in a small cage  of a few square meters “in misery”:

The growing protest about barbaric torture of animals in circus for fun of the least cultivated audiences, forced many big cities to ban use of wild and exotic animals in entertainment. Paris is clearly lagging behind the progressive and humanistic world trends – one year ago Iran prohibited animal circus.