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c2 - letter * To the Members of the ODIHR Advisory Panel for the Prevention of Torture

Brussels, 4th December 2003



To the Members of the ODIHR Advisory Panel for the Prevention of Torture

- Ms. Anne Burley, Director of the Europe Regional Program at Amnesty International;

- Ms. Danielle Coquoz, Head of the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross;

- Mr. Douglas Johnson, Executive Director for the Center for Victims of Torture, United States of America;

- Mr. Claude Nicolay, Deputy Prosecutor General of Luxembourg and former Chairman of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture;

- Sir Nigel Rodley, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Professor of Law at the University of Essex.


Excellency,

I am writing in order to inform you on the inhuman and degrading treatment given to the prisoners of the Italian Republic subject to the special detainment or "hard prison" regime, in so far as Law 279 turned the transitory, exceptional nature of the penitentiary system detailed in article 41 bis into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act.

To this effect please find enclosed:

The report The use of solitary confinement in Italy: the situation regarding the 41 bis regime, by MARIACARMEN COLITTI, Legal Adviser of No Peace Without Justice; extracted from the dossier Special Prisons in Europe - France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom prepared by the Brussels NGO "Right to Law".

The report published last year following a visit to all Italians detained under regime 41 bis with the aim to inform the Italian parliament, which was discussing the case for turning the transitory, exceptional nature of the penitentiary system detailed in article 41 bis into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act;

The report following the last visit to the 4 Italian female detainees under the 41 bis regime at the Rome Rebibbia feminine prison, which took place last November 23rd.

Further to the adoption of the law that has turned "hard prison" into an integral part of the Penitentiary Act, I have made additional visits in which a worsening of detainment conditions has been noticed.

Regarding the possibility of having an effective appeal, the appeals raised before the Supervision Court by the detainees were discussed over a period of time from 60 to 180 days, and not within 10 days from the date of their presentation as provided for by law.

I am confident that your Office’s Advisory Panel will take into consideration this critical issue.

Yours truly,

Maurizio Turco

Member of the European parliament

EP Rapporteur on "The rights of prisoners in the European Union"