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30.10.2012   MEP Zdanoka's speech on Detention conditions in the EU (14 December 2011 - Strasbourg)

Tatjana Ždanoka (Verts/ALE ). – Mr President, I recall the situation in my own country, Latvia. I know the situation very well, due to my experience as a human rights defender who has, for many years, worked on concrete applications coming from places of detention.

The Latvian Human Rights Committee (NGO), of which I am a member, has produced a number of reports on conditions of detention in Latvia, which it has submitted to the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture and the appropriate OSCE and Council of Europe bodies.

Thanks to our insistence, the place of detention for illegal immigrants situated at the very centre of Riga, in which people were held in terrible conditions, has been closed. But there still are huge problems relating to conditions of detention in Latvia, and the delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture which visited Latvia in 2009 called on the Latvian authorities to improve conditions, especially for prisoners serving life sentences.

Therefore, we need EU legislation incorporating European prison rules, particularly as regards accommodation, access to health care and legal advice.

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