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Press Conference: Presentation of Actions of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and the Forced Returns Monitoring Mechanism, as well as the Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact


Presentation of Actions of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and the Forced Returns Monitoring Mechanism, as well as the Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact








The Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights held a press conference, during which she referred to her work and actions as a National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, including visits to places where persons with disabilities live or are accommodated Kokkinotrimithia, the visits to the Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital, the visits to the Paphos and Aradippou Police Detention Centers as well as to the more than ten visits to the Central Prisons.





Furthermore, the Commissioner mentioned the amendment of the relevant law regarding the operation of the National Prevention Mechanism was pointed out, where in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the recommendations of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe were complied with so that the Commissioner can now visit freely, unhindered and unannounced in any place or places of detention of his choice without the prior notification of the competent authorities, something which in practice had of course been adopted in many cases.




Regarding Forced Returns Monitoring Mechanism, the Commissioner stated that the role of her Office is to record the returns received during the operation, without interfering in any way with it, except in the case of recommendations when there is a serious violation of the human rights of the returnees.

She also mentioned to her main recommendations, including the use of the waiting room at the Larnaca Airport, the use of an interpreter during the operation, escorting by police officers of the same sex as well as other remarks. In almost all cases, the Police responded and either proceeded with the immediate implementation of the recommendations, such as the termination of the use of the waiting room at the Airport and the supply of Velcro handcuffs to replace the respective metal ones, or it has issued relevant Instructions to its members for compliance with our recommendations.




The Commissioner then referred to the Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact, prepared in collaboration with the Association of the Protection of the Rights of Prisoners & Ex-Prisoners and in particular to Mr. Alexandros Clerides, who had conceived the idea of ​​preparing the Guide.

The Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact was compiled in accordance with the provisions of existing legislation and regulations as well as the experience gained through contact with detainees, either as inmates or convicts in Central Prison and taking into account information and views of the Central Prison Directorate which had been requested.

It aims to inform the newly arrived detainees about their rights, obligations and the rules of safe stay in prison. It is written in simple and understandable language and aims to inform the newly arrived detainees as fully as possible in order to be as prepared and informed as possible regarding the rules and conditions prevailing inside the Central Prisons.



Afterwards, Mr. Alexandros Clerides presented the content and purpose of the Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact.





Finally, the Commissioner handed over to the Minister of Justice and to the First Officer of the Police Mr. Andreas Angelides, her Reports as National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and the Forced Returns Monitoring Mechanism, as well as the Guide of Prisoner’s First Contact.



The press conference was held on Friday, November 5, 2021, at The Classic Hotel in Nicosia.