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Is there evidence of police violence against migrants/minorities in custody?

Key Area:
Policing - Law Enforcement - Justice
15/02/2012 - 03:23
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

There is no quantitative data on the abuse of foreign prisoners or detainees. Qualitative data on this issue is also scant as the detention authorities grant the right of entry to places of detention only to very few organisations (Council of Europe, Ombudsman etc). NGOs are not allowed access. 

On 15 April 2008 the Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to the Government of Cyprus was published in Strasbourg, regarding the visit of CPT to Cyprus carried out from 8 to 17 December 2004. The report sets out its findings and recommendations with regard to, inter alia, the conditions of detention of immigrants held in police stations on immigration related offenses. After setting out a list of prima facie well founded allegations of ill-treatment of detainees by police officers, some of which amounted to torture, the report noted that the risk of ill-treatment appeared to be particularly high in respect of foreign nationals, whether they were criminal suspects or immigration detainees (

This information is quite dated (2004) and it is possible that the situation has improved over the 7 years that have elapsed since CPT’s investigation. However, one of the areas of concern in this report, being the wide powers of the Attorney General to appoint (or not) investigators to conduct inquiries into allegations of police misconduct and the manner in which the Attorney General exercised these powers, continue to persist today. The CPT report expressed its dissatisfaction over the Attorney General’s reluctance to initiate investigations ex officio, undertaking investigations only after a formal complaint by the victim or his lawyer. More recent independent reports criticise the unsuitable conditions of detention of migrants but make no mention of police brutality. This however may also be a reflection of the fact that very few organisations have the right to visit places of detention of migrants and amongst those the CPT is perhaps the only one that can (or will) do so without prior notice.

There is no information on treatment of minorities in detention and no indication of police violence.


Data n/a
Groups affected/interested Migrants, Muslims, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Islamophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement
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