Today and yesterday, the National Preventive Mechanism teams visited six police stations (PS) within the Belgrade Police Administration - PS Zvezdara, PS Palilula, PS Čukarica, PS Rakovica, PS Vračar and PS Zemun. During the visits to the police stations, the NPM monitored the implementation of the recommendations from the Report on the 2017 visit of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to the Republic of Serbia.

Special attention was paid to measures to protect against ill-treatment and the manner of exercising the rights of detainees during detention, documenting the use of coercive measures by police officers, handling confiscated items and activities undertaken to create conditions for audio / video recording of interviews.

Police officers were highly cooperative, provided answers to all questions, provided access to detention facilities and other premises in police stations, as well as overview, insight and photoshoots of all required documentation.

Unobstructed and unsupervised interviews with the detainees selected by the NPM team members were also enabled. Detainees interviewed in holding facilities had no objections regarding the police officers’ conduct.

Today, the Deputy Protector of Citizens and the head of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, Dr. Nataša Tanjević and her associates, visited two police stations within the Police Directorate for the City of Belgrade. The control visits to the Stari Grad Police Station and the Novi Beograd Police Station were made since the Ministry of the Interior did not submit to the Protector of Citizens, even after several urgencies, a notice of compliance with the recommendations of the NPM visit reports sent on July 30 and September 30, 2019.

The commanders of the visited police stations informed Deputy Tanjević of the recommendations they had fully followed, as well as of the activities undertaken and the requests submitted in order to implement the recommendations for which the necessary financial resources and / or engagement of other organizational units of the Ministry of the Interior were implemented.

Two detained persons were found at the Stari Grad Police Station. As one detainee was sleeping, with the other person an unsupervised interview was conducted in a detention room. He had no objections to the conduct of police officers, he pointed out that he had not been exposed to mental and physical abuse or to the unprofessional behavior of police officers. He also stated that he had been informed of his rights and had been served a detention order.
At the Novi Beograd Police Station, detention facilities were being renovated in order to comply with the applicable regulations and standards.

In both police stations, police officers conducted themselves professionally during the visit of the NPM, which is an example of good practice of conduct, in accordance with the legally prescribed obligation of cooperation of administrative bodies with the Protector of Citizens. The NPM monitoring team was provided with all the requested information, it was given access to the detention facilities and hearing offices, access to relevant documentation and an interview with the detained person.

The Deputy Protector of Citizens for the Protection of the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty and the Head of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, Dr. Nataša Tanjević, along with an associate from the Department of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, oversaw the forcible removal of a Ukrainian citizen. The monitoring began in the early morning hours at the Shelter for Foreigner, where an unsupervised interview was conducted with a Ukrainian citizen. The Ukranian citizen had no objection to the conduct of police officers, he stated that he wanted to return to Ukraine and that his plane tickets were provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). During the interview with him, no signs of uneasiness about the removal and / or conduct of police officers were observed.

Subsequently, the relevant documentation was accessed and the law enforcement officials were interviewed on the circumstance of respecting the rights of these persons during their stay at the Shelter. In the process of forcible removal, the placement of a Ukrainian citizen in an official vehicle and the transport to Nikola Tesla Airport was monitored. An unsupervised interview with an Afghan citizen was also conducted at the Shelter for Foreigners, whose removal was also planned for the same day.

At the Nikola Tesla Airport, a room was visited in the international transit space of the airport intended for the accommodation of foreigners who do not meet the requirements for entry into the Republic of Serbia, where five adult men were found, namely, citizens of Turkey, Ukraine, Tunisia and India, as well as a specially equipped room for accommodation for women with children, where no one was found at the time of the visit.

Dr Nataša Tanjević had an unsupervised interview with one of the foreigners who was found in a room in the international transit space of the airport and he had no objections to the police conduct with him. Afterwards, an interview was conducted with the police officers at the border police station about how they treated this category of foreigners and how these persons exercise their rights during their transit stay.

During the monitoring procedure and during the visit to the Airport, all police officers fully cooperated with the representatives of the Protector of Citizens and provided all the requested information.

The NPM will prepare special reports on the visit and supervision of the forced removal process in the coming period.

Based on the monitoring of the forcible removal procedure of a Chinese national, which was carried out on September 27, 2019, the NPM prepared a report stating that the proceeding was conducted in accordance with the regulations and standards envisaged.

The monitoring began at the Shelter for Foreigners, where the Chinese national was located, his transfer into an official vehicle was monitored, and while on his way to the airport, an NPM representative was in an official vehicle, behind the vehicle carrying the foreigner.

At the airport, an NPM representative interviewed the foreigner and followed the procedure for boarding the aircraft. The Chinese national stated that he had no objection to the actions of police officers, he also said that he had been allowed to contact his wife and that he wanted to return to China. During the interview with him, no signs of uneasiness about the removal and / or conduct of police officers were observed.

All police officers have fully cooperated with the NPM by providing the requested information, facilitating attendance and monitoring of the removal process, as well as unsupervised interview with the foreigner.

The National Preventive Mechanism made an unannounced visit to the Penal-Correctional Facility in Niš on December 24 and 25. In addition to the checks related to the use of video surveillance and the practice of having confidential conversations with the warden, special attention was paid during this visit to the treatment of psychoactive substance addicts.

The existence of psychoactive substances in prisons is controlled and monitored by the NPM from the safety, health and treatment aspects, and particular attention will be given to this issue in the coming year in order to comprehensively review the situation and produce a thematic report.

Specialized experts will be included in the visits that will be carried out in 2020, which will address the problem of existence of drugs in prisons, and with the planned research we intend to primarily determine the degree of presence of psychoactive substances in prisons and the response of penal-correctional facilities to this problem.

During its stay in Niš, the NPM also made an unannounced visit to the Niš border police station - Airport and the Constantine the Great Airport. The NPM was there for the first time, and the topic was the treatment of foreigners who were not allowed to enter the country. The NPM representatives visited a special room that was provided for accommodation of those who were forbidden from entering the country, and they accessed the required records and interviewed police officers and airport security officers. The NPM will draw up a report on the visit and send it to the competent authorities.