Dubovcova: Police Use Illegal Facilities For Detaining People

Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 19 (TASR) – The police have created facilities for detaining people, although they aren’t proper police cells and thus no legal rules apply to them, said Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcova on Wednesday.

Dubovcova explained that these cells are only parts of a corridor separated with bars. There’s usually only a chair, some windows and some straps for restraining a person. She said that these premises are illegal but the police are using them on a daily basis. She has submitted a report to Parliament asking for their immediate abrogation.

“It’s an ultimate violation of basic human rights concerning a great number of people. The police use them as part of a regular routine and that’s unacceptable in a democratic and lawful state,” stressed Dubovcova. “It’s of utmost priority to dismantle these facilities and to abolish such practices. Otherwise this excludes Slovakia from the group of European democratic states,” she noted.

In 2014, the ombudswoman decided to take a closer look at conditions in the police facilities. This survey saw 19 facilities visited, where it was found that the police used these illegal cells. Dubovcova also registered four complaints from people who were held in such conditions. It’s also been proved by a recent case that a man was almost beaten to death in one of these facilities. He was left there beaten for more than 24 hours without access to water or toilet, without any possibility to call for help. “That’s an absolutely unacceptable thing in a democratic and lawful state,” stated Dubovcova.

Tomas Citbaj of the Ombudsperson’s Office pointed out that it’s clearly stated in the law that the only way allowed for detaining a person is at a police station in a proper police cell. “No other procedure can be applied by the police. This stems from the Slovak Constitution, which says that no one can prosecute or encroach on another’s freedom for any other reason or in any other way than what is stipulated by law. It’s questionable why the police are doing what they’re doing when there’s a limit prescribed by the law,” noted Citbaj.