22:12 GMT16 January 2021
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    The Council of Europe’s committee on torture prevention described detention conditions it observed in Belgian prisons during months-long strikes by staff as intolerable, in a report published Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Belgian prison guards went on strike last April and May to protest increased retirement age and staff shortages that resulted in extra shifts.

    A delegation of the Council’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visited several jails over three days in May and found "virtually all prison staff" missing while the establishments were run by a handful of managers and volunteers.

    Hundreds of prisoners were being locked up for weeks inside their cells, with no possibility of physical exercise. No family members or lawyers were admitted during that time, the three daily meals were all served at once and showing hours were "sporadic," the CPT said.

    "Such conditions of detention were made all the more intolerable by the fact that the industrial action lasted two months in some of the country's establishments," the report read.

    The committee advised Belgian authorities to pass a law that would establish a guaranteed minimum service in prisons while respecting the rights of prison staff. It said the country’s authorities indicated they were already working on this.

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    Tags:
    prisons, European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Belgium
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