Cyprus Mail

Prison congestion much improved after intervention, Lottides says

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides said Friday that after her office had intervened, the central prisons were decongested as part of measures to battle the spread of coronavirus, a measure lauded by the Association for the Prevention of Torture.

On Friday, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2020, she said: “It is with great satisfaction that after our intervention, as the national prevention authority, on March 26, 2020, measures were taken to decongest the central prisons with an amendment to the relevant legal framework.”

She added the measures were welcomed by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and was included as an example of good practice in recent recommendations entitled, Guidance: Monitoring Places of Detention Through the Covid-19 Pandemic.

“Today, more than ever, due to the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus that plagues humanity, people who are deprived or likely to be deprived of their liberty in restricted areas are more vulnerable to cruel, inhumane and / or humiliating treatment with this new threat,” she said.

Last week, a European Union (EU) report said Cyprus was among the countries that released the highest proportion of prisoners in the early stages of Covid-19.

The research, compiled by the University of Lausanne for the Council of Europe, shows that prison administrations across the continent released over 118,000 inmates as a preventive measure during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cypriot authorities gave 121 inmates early release as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.   In March, reports said 820 prisoners were at a facility intended for 540 inmates.

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