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Immediate investigations should be launched into allegations of torture and other forms of ill-treatment

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  WORLD ORGANISATION AGAINST TORTURE   

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is deeply concerned about reports of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of individuals,including of minors, in police custody, in the aftermath of the protests that took place from 7 to 8 April 2009 in Chisinau.  

According to the information received, a wave of arrests and detention, inparticular of young people, has unfolded since 7 April 2009 in Chisinau. A group of national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has collected information regardingabout 100 individuals, including minors, who reportedly were arrested in blatantviolation of national and international law on arrest and detention procedures, including the right to be promptly informed of the reasons of their arrest and theright of access to their lawyers. Several of these individuals are alleged to havesuffered severe beatings and other forms of ill-treatment, including with clubs, full plastic water bottles, fists and feet, in police custody.

According to a local media, a young man would have died in detention under unclear circumstances.   It is further reported that the conditions of detention, particularly in Penitentiary institution No. 13, which has received some of the arrestedindividuals, are very poor. According to the information received, some of thedetainees have limited access to food, water and basic sanitary facilities. In other places of detention, persons deprived of their liberty have reportedly been deniedvisits by lawyers and human rights organisations.

While the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova has reportedly published, on 12 April 2009, lists of people arrested, there are fears that theseare incomplete and that a number of individuals remain currently disappeared.  

OMCT has also been informed that pre-trial hearings are taking place in district police stations with no or limited access to defence lawyers.

Following the results of the parliamentary elections on 6 April 2009 according towhich the ruling communist party of Moldova had won, young people took to the streets in Chisinau protesting the fairness of the elections. These protests laterresulted in clashes with police, violence and vandalism.  

OMCT is gravely concerned with regard to these reports, in particular the allegations of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and calls on the Moldovanauthorities to:

1) locate and make public the whereabouts of all persons who remaindisappeared;

2) guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all persons deprived of their liberty and

3) guarantee immediate and unconditional access totheir lawyers and families as well as prompt and thereafter regular access toindependent medical care.

OMCT recalls that the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment is enshrined in all the major international and regional legalinstruments to which Moldova is a State Party. OMCT therefore calls on the competentauthorities to carry out prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into the abovementioned allegations, the results of which must bemade public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent andimpartial tribunal and to apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.  

OMCT is also gravely concerned about the circumstances of these arrests andparticularly the excessive use of force against minors and it calls on theauthorities to order the immediate release of all individuals detained in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international legal standards, or ifsuch charges exist, bring the individuals concerned before an impartial,independent, and competent tribunal that will guarantee their full procedural rights at every stage of the proceedings and a fair and public hearing in the determinationof any criminal charge against them.



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