Spain: Out of the shadows - Time to end incommunicado detention

September 15, 2009

Spain: Out of the shadows - Time to end incommunicado detention

Amnesty International recommends that doctors appointed to examine detainees should:

  • Insist on conducting all medical exams of detainees out of the hearing and, unless otherwise requested by the doctor in a particular case due to a fear for their own safety, out of the sight of law enforcement officials;

  • Ensure medical examinations and reports are in line with the guidelines of the Istanbul Protocol "Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". Medical reports should include the doctor's own conclusions on the possible correlation between allegations of ill-treatment and any evidence (or lack) of corresponding injuries.



1 The Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is comprised of legal, medical, and law enforcement experts drawn from States parties to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Other Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The CPT conducts periodic and ad hoc visits to all places where people are deprived of their liberty in states parties to the Convention. Upon authorisation of the state concerned, the CPT publishes the reports of its visits, which contain its observations and recommendations aimed at eradicating torture and other ill-treatment. It also publishes annual general reports which include thematic and general recommendations aimed at preventing torture and other ill-treatment.

2 See, e.g., UN Security Council resolutions 1450; 1456 at para 6; 1566, Preambular para 6.

3 UN World Summit Declaration 2005, para. 85, adopted by the Heads of State and Government gathered at the UN Headquarters from 14-16 September 2005, UN Doc. A/60/L.1, A/RES/60/1.

4 See e.g., General Assembly resolutions 59/46, 49/60, 51/210.

5 See, e.g., Aksoy v Turkey

6 See, e.g., Council of Europe Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism, adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 11 July 2002, H(2002)004. See in particular Guideline II.

7 See, for example, Preliminary Observations of the HRC: Peru, UN Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.67, paras17, 25 July 1996.

8 Commission on Human Rights, Resolution 1997/38, para. 20