Miserable Conditions at Limassol Police Holding Centre

detention facilities overcrowding

The Limassol Police Holding Centre, as per the Ombudswoman’s report, is plagued by overcrowding, poor living conditions, and inadequate facilities. Detainees, including minors and foreign nationals, are crammed into cells with substandard amenities, necessitating urgent repairs, increased staffing, and enhanced treatment for humane living conditions.

What are the conditions at Limassol Police Holding Centre according to the Ombudswoman’s report?

The Limassol Police Holding Centre is facing severe issues with overcrowding, poor living conditions, inadequate lighting, and lack of recreational facilities. Detainees, including minors and foreign nationals, are housed in cramped cells with substandard sanitary facilities. The centre urgently needs repairs, better staffing, and improved detainee treatment to meet humane standards.

Overview of Detention Facility Conditions

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides released a report highlighting the dire state of the Limassol police holding centre. This report stemmed from an unannounced visit conducted on March 26. The centre, designed to house 34 individuals, was home to various detainees including eight criminal prisoners, four convicts, ten awaiting trial, eight administrative detainees who were foreign nationals, and two minors.

The facility, divided into three distinct wings, is grappling with issues such as overcrowding and substandard living conditions. The first wing, which is intended for criminal prisoners, convicts, and those awaiting trial, was found especially congested. Lottides noted that the size of the cells was so restricted that it was not suitable for accommodating more than one individual per cell. Furthermore, the sanitary facilities were in a decrepit state, signaling an urgent need for repair or renovation.

Specific Wing Observations

Minors’ Wing

In the wing designated for minors, conditions were deemed borderline satisfactory, yet still not quite suitable for underage detainees. It was, however, segregated from the adult wings, which is a positive aspect in terms of safety and well-being. The minors, per Lottides’ observation, need to be provided with social workers, especially during the crucial initial hours of detention. It is also recommended that the rights of prisoners be clearly displayed within each cell, to ensure that minors are aware of their entitlements while in custody.

Wing for Administrative Detainees

The report goes on to describe the wing for administrative detainees, highlighting inadequate lighting as a significant concern. The absence of windows, replaced by glass bricks, limits natural light and fresh air. The Ombudswoman emphasized the importance of separating foreign nationals awaiting repatriation from other detainees to uphold proper treatment standards. If immediate transfer to a dedicated facility for ‘prohibited immigrants’ is not feasible, then at the very least, administrative detainees must be kept segregated from the general detainee population.

Living Conditions and Recreational Facilities

The centre’s courtyard, a shared space utilized on a rotational basis to prevent intermingling among different detainee groups, is in need of an upgrade. The existing canopy should be replaced with a security grate that allows for better lighting. Additionally, the report found that entertainment options for detainees were limited to television, with no access to books, magazines, or newspapers – a situation that does not align with international standards.

Visitation areas were another point of concern raised in the report. The current setup, consisting of a single table and two chairs in poor condition, is not conducive to visits from family or legal representatives. Immediate steps to improve this area were recommended by the Ombudswoman.

Staffing and Training Needs

Finally, the report suggests that the police should consider bolstering the staff at the holding centre and ensure that all officers receive proper training for managing such a facility. This is crucial for maintaining order, ensuring the safety of both staff and detainees, and complying with the preventive measures against torture that the Ombudswoman’s office advocates for.

In light of the findings, it is evident that significant improvements are necessary to meet the basic rights and needs of the detainees. The facility’s conditions require immediate attention to bring them up to the standards of a humane detention environment.

What are the main issues highlighted in the Ombudswoman’s report regarding the Limassol Police Holding Centre?

The Ombudswoman’s report indicated severe problems at the Limassol Police Holding Centre, including overcrowding, poor living conditions, inadequate lighting, lack of recreational facilities, and substandard sanitary amenities. This has resulted in a dire need for repairs, increased staffing, and improved treatment of detainees to ensure humane living conditions.

How many detainees were found in the Limassol Police Holding Centre during the Ombudswoman’s visit?

During the unannounced visit by Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides, the Limassol Police Holding Centre was found to house various individuals, including eight criminal prisoners, four convicts, ten awaiting trial, eight administrative detainees who were foreign nationals, and two minors. This led to significant overcrowding and highlighted the urgent need for facility improvements.

What were some of the observations made regarding specific wings within the Limassol Police Holding Centre?

The report highlighted specific concerns within different wings of the centre. For example, the wing for minors was deemed borderline satisfactory but lacked necessary social workers and clear display of prisoners’ rights. The wing for administrative detainees faced issues with inadequate lighting and the need for segregation from the general detainee population to uphold proper treatment standards.

What recommendations were provided in the report to improve conditions at the Limassol Police Holding Centre?

The report suggested various improvements, such as upgrading the courtyard with better lighting, providing more entertainment options for detainees, enhancing the visitation areas, and ensuring proper staffing and training for all officers. These recommendations aim to bring the facility up to the standards required for a humane detention environment and to safeguard the rights and well-being of detainees.

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