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Protecting human rights during transfers of prisoners

Unacceptable conditions during transfers of prisoners may amount to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, PACE’s Standing Committee has underlined.

International standards relating to the conditions in which prisoners can properly be transported are increasingly clear. Yet, the Court’s judgments and relevant reports of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) show that these standards are either insufficiently known and understood, or inadequately applied, in a number of Council of Europe member States.

In a unanimously-adopted resolution, based on a report prepared by Emanuel Mallia (Malta, SOC), the Assembly urged Council of Europe member States to bring their national legal frameworks and practices into line with existing international standards on transfers and to avoid any sub-standard or discriminatory treatment of prisoners during transfers.

Any restrictions placed on prisoners during transportation should be limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate to the legitimate objective for which they are imposed.