The Ministry of Interior informed the National Preventive Mechanism on acting upon the Recommendations from the Report on the visit to Leskovac Police Administration (PA) headquarters.
In order to implement the recommendations and improve the acting upon them, PA Leskovac submitted copies of the report to its internal organizational units, and in its response it is stated that specific activities were undertaken in order to rectify identified irregularities in the work:
- The lacking bed sheets for beds in the detention rooms were provided in the headquarters of Leskovac Police Administration and in Lebane Police Station
- it was ordered that, pursuant to the Law on Misdemeanors, the detention for up to 24 hours should be counted from the moment of exercising the police power of bringing the defendant
- the police officers were instructed to apply restraint (fixation) measures in full compliance with the applicable regulations as to not unnecessarily inflict bodily pain or injury (by excessive squeezing or otherwise) on the detainee, as well as to visit the detainees from time to time and update detention records accordingly.
It is also stated that the Police Department of the Leskovac Police Administration will carry out control and instructional activities in the coming period in order to monitor and follow-up the activities according to the ordered measures, as well as to take disciplinary measures in case of omissions.
The NPM will monitor the activities regarding the detention premises adaptation in the headquarters of the Leskovac Police Department, in Vlasotince Police Station and Lebane Police Station, for which it was stated that the works would begin in the coming period.
In September 2019, the National Preventive Mechanism paid a regular, unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Leskovac Police Administration and, based on the established facts, issued a Report on the visit with Recommendations to that body.
Yesterday, National Preventive Mechanism paid visits to the District Prison and the Police Administration in Novi Sad.
During the visit to the District Prison, National Preventive Mechanism paid attention to the issue of psychoactive substances presence in the institution and the measures taken by the institution in that regard. So, the National Preventive Mechanism interviewed employees in the services for security, treatment and health care.
In addition, the National Preventive Mechanism team interviewed the detainees regarding the police conduct during the exercise of police powers.
The National Preventive Mechanism also visited two police outposts within Novi Sad Police Administration where the NPM monitored whether they complied with the Recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and interviewed the detainees regarding police officers’ conduct during deprivation of liberty.
Today, the National Preventive Mechanism visited the District Prison (DP) and the Police Department in Smederevo.
The visit to DP Smederevo was aimed at controlling the presence of psychoactive substances in the institution and the response of the institution to that, which continued the activity started towards the end of the previous year. The NPM conducted interviews with security, treatment and health care services, as well as with several persons deprived of liberty. In addition, during the interviews with the recently detained persons, NPM representatives examined how the police treated them during their deprivation of liberty.
During a visit to the Smederevo Police Department, the NPM monitored the adherence of the Police Department to CPT's Recommendations, the use of coercive measures, investigated existing complaints, the manner of questioning, handling the confiscated items, conditions in holding facilities and conduct towards detained citizens.
Deputy Protectors of Citizens, Mr. Slobodan Tomić, Ms. Nataša Tanjević and Ms. Jelena Stojanović and Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Protector of Citizens Ms. Olja Jovićić participated today in a video conference attended by more than 20 EU member states Ombudsmen representatives as well as the states which are in the EU accession process.
The main topic of the conference, organized by the European Union Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, was related to the impacts of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus in the field of human and minority rights, especially in exercising and observing the rights of vulnerable groups (elderly population, migrants, persons deprived of liberty), and also to the repercussions for the healthcare and social system and further democratic and economic development of states.
Deputy Protector of Citizens Natasa Tanjević said that since the declaration of the state of emergency in Serbia (15 March 2020), the Protector of Citizens was paying special attention to the respect for and protection of human rights in Serbia. The institution was available to citizens seven days a week, through a large number of newly opened telephone lines, by sending complaints via e-mail, but also by going out on the field. In the protection of human rights, special attention was paid to vulnerable groups, the protection of the rights of children, women, national minorities, persons with disabilities, migrants and persons deprived of liberty.
Ms. Tanjević said that during this period, NPM representatives continued visiting the institutions for the execution of penal sanctions, in order to check how measures are implemented in the fight against the spread of coronavirus and how in those circumstances the exercise of fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty was ensured. In addition, several migrants and asylum seekers reception centers were visited, in order to monitor how they were treated. The NPM opened a special telephone line that was available all 7 days a week from 8 am to 10 pm and responded to each complaint. The outcome of these activities were Recommendations issued to the authorities to rectify the identified shortcomings in the work.
The Protector of Citizens issued an opinion to the Ministry of Justice regarding the exercise of the right to a fair trial and urged the Ministry to take all measures within its competence to enable access to alternative means and assets of communication (Skype) between the defendant and defense attorney in a separate room without third parties present, with video, not audio, surveillance, without 30 minutes restriction on communication duration, in order to create necessary conditions for conducting confidential conversation and preparation of the defendant’s defense.
Ms. Tanjević concluded by stating that in addition to numerous activities in that period, the Protector of Citizens would continue to work in the coming period on human rights and freedoms protection and promotion.
Ms. Emily O'Reilly commended the Protector of Citizens on the activities undertaken regarding visits to reception centers for migrants and monitoring how those institutions treated the migrants.
Yesterday, the National Preventive Mechanism visited the Adaševci Reception Center, in order to monitor the situation and conditions in the center, the treatment of migrants and the measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The NPM visited accommodation facilities (one solid facility - the building of the former hotel, as well as tents set up to admit migrants brought shortly before the state of emergency), infirmary, canteen, laundry, dining room, and special attention was paid to the conditions for maintaining personal hygiene. During the visit, the migrants were interviewed and the records of recent extraordinary developments were reviewed.
The cooperation of the employees was good and the representatives of the NPM were enabled to fulfill their mandate.