The current challenges on guarantying the rights of persons deprived of liberty were discussed during the Extended Session of the Advisory Council on the Prevention of Torture.
Particularly, fundamental issues with regard to the new procedure of the early conditional release were discussed, such as ensuring the right of access to court in case of one or both negative opinions by the Probation Service and the Penitentiary Service’s reports with regard to early conditional release, guaranteeing the right to be properly informed about the application procedure for the early conditional release, their rights while discussing the early conditional release, as well as the legal consequences of giving or not giving a written consent on bringing the case before the court. Furthermore, it was outlined that there are issues with regard to ensuring complex set of measures legislative, methodological and organizational, including logistic approach while preparing the reports by the State Probation Service.
During the event, it was noted that the legislative regulations in terms of guaranteeing rights of those detainees and convicted persons, who are in disciplinary cells are problematic. According to the current legislation, when disciplinary sanction “transferring the detainee and the convicted person to the disciplinary cell” is applied, despite any circumstances, as an imperative ban he/she is automatically deprived of the contact with outside world.
As a result, this type of sanction has a nature of causing additional deprivations. Under these circumstances individual approach is not provided and the behavioral risk of the person deprived of liberty is not assessed. Moreover, in some cases, the proportionality between the action and the applied restriction might not be provided. During the Session, it was noted that based on the individual complaints and activities of the Defender as a National Preventive Mechanism, the Defender had applied to the Constitutional Court to challenge the constitutionality of the relevant penitentiary legislation.
Legislative and practical issues regarding the non-voluntary or compulsory treatment at the psychiatric hospitals were also raised. These are systemic issues. Thus, in practice, the aware consent of the person with regard to the hospitalization and treatment is not ensured. As a result of the Defender’s activities, cases of keeping the person in psychiatric hospitals, as well as cases of non-compliance with legally prescribed procedures and deadlines of compulsory or non-voluntary treatment have been revealed.
The steps and approaches initiated by the Human Rights Defender to resolve these systematic issues have also been presented.
Source: Office of the Human Rights Defender, Armenia