U.N. Torture Body Concerned Over Ukraine Prisons

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The U.N. Committee Against Torture on Monday voiced deep concern over reports of ill-treatment of pre-trial suspects in Ukraine and said it provided "insufficient legal safeguards" for detainees.

Torture is common in Ukrainian jails

A panel of independent experts also cited reports that said detainees were not brought quickly enough before a judge, lacked access to lawyers and independent doctors and were deprived of their procedural rights.

"The committee was deeply concerned about allegations of torture and ill-treatment of suspects during detention, as well as reported abuses during the period between apprehension and the formal presentation of a detainee to a judge", their report said.

This meant that Ukraine was "providing insufficient legal safeguards to detainees," it said.

It also referred to reported use of intimidation techniques by the ex-Soviet country's anti-terrorism unit within prisons.

Ukraine's failure to conduct prompt and impartial investigatyion of complaints of ill-treatment also gave cause for concern, it said.

It urged Ukraine to carry out reforms to make its general prosecutor's office more independent.

The U.N. Committee Against Torture investigates compliance with the international treaty banning torture, ratified by 144 countries, including Ukraine.

On Poland, the group said Polish officials had denied reports their country housed covert prisons for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) terrorism suspects. It urged Warsaw to make public internal findings on the issue.

"The committee urged Poland to share information about the scope, methodology and conclusions of the enquiry into those allegations conducted by the Polish Parliament," it said.

Source: Reuters