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Visits

Yesterday, the Deputy Protector of Citizens Ms. Nataša Tanjević PhD. and her associate from the NPM team visited Padinska Skela Shelter for Foreigners where they monitored a forced removal of a family with two minors, citizens of Iran and two citizens of Afghanistan.

Facilitated by a Farsi interpreter, unsupervised interviews were conducted with foreigners, and since a family with two children was in the process of forced removal, special attention was paid to the conditions in the shelter and the treatment of children during their stay there, as well as to the process of placement in an official vehicle. The NPM concluded that the Iranian family was provided with accommodation in the shelter separately from others awaiting forced removal, thus providing them with the necessary privacy, in accordance with the Law, and that minor children with their mother were in a separate passenger official vehicle during the transportation to the border crossing.

NPM team members examined the relevant documentation and interviewed the staff regarding the respect of the rights of persons in the process of forced removal. The NPM monitored their placement in an official vehicle which then transported them to Gradina border crossing.

The foreigners interviewed stated that they had no objections regarding the conditions in the Shelter or the police officers’ conduct.

During the visit, all police officers fully cooperated with the NPM by providing the requested information and enabling unsupervised interviews with foreigners.

Deputy Protector of Citizens Ms. Nataša Tanjević PhD. and representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism paid a regular visit to the Pančevo Penitentiary-Correctional Institution on 27 and 28 February in accordance with the visit plan for 2020. In addition to the NPM representatives, the visiting team also included representatives of the Provincial Ombudsman, YUKOM representatives and a forensic specialist- a representative of the IAN.

During the visit, a comprehensive monitoring of the situation in the Institution was conducted in terms of respecting the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, with the full cooperation of the management and staff in the penitentiary facility. The NPM team was provided with all the requested information; unsupervised interviews with a large number of persons deprived of liberty were enabled, as well as a tour of the premises and insight into the complete documentation. The professional conduct of the management and employees in the Institution during the NPM’s visit was an example of good practice in acting upon legally enshrined bodies’ obligation to cooperate with the NPM.

The NPM will prepare a report on the visit, which will be submitted to the Institution and other relevant authorities.

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.