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c4 - letter * H.E. Theo van Boven, Special Rapporteur on Torture - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Brussels, 4th December 2003


To the kind attention of:

H.E. Theo van Boven
Special Rapporteur on Torture Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Your Excellency,

I am writing to you in order to denounce 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 41bis regime at the Roma 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.

Yours faithfully,

Maurizio Turco

Member of the European parliament

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