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Police officers sometimes degrade arrested people, ombudsman says

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Brno, Aug 29 (CTK) – People whom the Czech police provisionally detained were sometimes humiliated and their rights, privacy and dignity were violated, Ombudsman Anna Sabatova told journalists today about her inspection of cells at police stations.

The Office of the Ombudsman made unannounced visits to 47 cells for provisional detention at 14 district police stations in the past two years.

Sabatova said it is degrading if all provisionally arrested persons had to strip naked and got toilet paper or a toothbrush only when they asked for it.

Moreover, the police have no internal rules defining under what conditions body searches should be performed on the arrested people and how they should be performed, she said.

Sabatova said arrested persons must get standard written information about their rights and they can keep it during their detention. At some of the police stations the arrested received this information only if they asked for it. Apart from this, the police did not have one and the same form at all stations, she said.

She also said some of the cells are not equipped sufficiently. For example, the bed did not have a mattress, which cannot be tolerated in a cell in which people spend more than six hours.

It is wrong that spectacles are taken away from all the arrested at some police stations, she added.

Sabatova said she is going to send the report on the results of her inspection visits to all police stations that include cells for provisional detention. She already sent the report to Police President Tomas Tuhy, asking him to let her know which recommendations would be accepted, she said.

People may spend up to 72 hours in a police cell. They must be released afterwards unless an official decision on their pre-trial detention is issued.

The Police Presidium received the ombudsman’s report on Monday and it may comment on it only after it gets well acquainted with the report, its spokesman Jozef Bocan told CTK.


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