The CPT plans new torture-concealment visits


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*The CPT plans new torture-concealment visits*

It has come to our notice that this year the "European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)" amongst others, again has "visits" in German psychiatric hospitals on the agenda. Since 01.01.2009 by ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Republic of Germany, psychiatric coercive measures are a crime. The Convention requires in Article 14 "that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty". The German "mentally ill laws" (PsychKG) which permit forced incarceration on the grounds of a disability, an alleged "mental illness", thus become illegitimate and illegal special laws that must be abolished. i The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities confirmed what is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948 and also according to the European Human Rights Convention of 1953 this applies anyway to: Coercive measures by psychiatry, incarceration, forced treatment and incapacitation, are worldwide and in all cases a serious human rights violation, primarily deprivation of liberty, bodily injury, violation of personal rights and human dignity.

In addition, coercive psychiatric treatment corresponds to the criteria of torture, as defined by the "United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December  1984: The inmates in the psychiatric prisons are especially subjected to severe physical and mental pain or suffering by the forced application of psychiatric drugs and electric shocks (so-called "ECT"). The intentional and forced treatment, intimidation and coercion in closed psychiatry wards is aimed at obtaining the confession of "illness insight" and thus to obtain "compliance." The so-called former
"non-illness-insighted" should be made tame and (apparently) willing to accept "treatment". This takes place on the basis of discrimination and slander by labeling people as "mentally ill". This suffering is caused at the instigation of and with the explicit consent of members of the public service. The torture practiced by psychiatry is not a matter of individual cases or an occasional abuse of power by the psychiatric staff, but is the rule in every closed institution, because in Germany the psychiatric coercive laws such as the PsychKG still exist, even though they should have been abolished at the very latest in the course of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. ii

Similarly, just as the will-breaking entry into the body during a rape, forced treatment in psychiatry cannot be legalized, even if, as some "experts" believe, it is "reviewed" or "controlled" by a judge.iii Such "human rights experts" position themselves outside the basic principles of human rights in order to protect the psychiatric torture measures. A rape too remains a rape, even if it is ordered, reviewed and monitored by a judge, executed by a doctor and called "medical treatment".

The "European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment"(CPT) is by one seventh (6 of 42) staffed with psychiatrists and is therefore biased.iv Instead of acting against the psychiatric violence and torture immanent in the psychiatric system and the psychiatric special laws which were also designated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in October 2008 as "intrinsically discriminatory" and "unlawful" lawsv, and based on this reasoning, to reprimand the concerning governments of the Council of Europe, the CPT sees its "first priority" at most as being to "ascertain whether there are any indications of the deliberate ill- treatment of patients.

"vi Contrary to statements by the UN and its High Commissioner, the CPT is of the opinion that "in any psychiatric establishment, the restraint of agitated and/or violent patients may on occasion be necessary" and it also approves the use of"straps, strait-jackets, etc.".vii

For these reasons, with regard to the individual case- inspections organized by the CPT, the visits only to individual psychiatric torture crime scenes, which the CPT trivializes as "some places of detention", viii which only "to be fully effective " "should be both regular and unannounced" and where "the authority concerned should be empowered to interview detained persons in private "ix x, we name them for what they are: Veiled torture measures, which should continue to nurture the illusion that torture measures could still be legitimized by a law and by a judge's decision and that the appearance of legality would be justified.

This applies particularly with respect to the countries of the Council of Europe, which the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities signed and ratified. So far they are:

Austria (26.09.2008),
Azerbaijan (28.01.2009), Belgium (02.07.2009), Bosnia and Herzegovina
(12.03.2010), Croatia (15.08. 2007), Czech Republic (28.09.2009),
Denmark ( 24.07.2009), France (18.02.2010), Germany (24.02.2009),
Hungary (20.07.2007), Italy (15.05.2009), Latvia (01.03.2010),
Montenegro (02.11.2009) , Portugal (23.09.2009), San Marino
(22.02.2008), Serbia (31.07.2009), Slovenia (24.04.2008), Spain
(03.12.2007), Sweden (15.12.2008), Turkey (28.09.2009) , Ukraine
(04.02.2010), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Thus the CPT has become our political opponent, by turning its " individual case- inspections" and its should-be-unannounced "visits", which are moreover connected to recommendations to psychiatry with regard to "enhanced" control techniquesxii, into torture perfectioning measures, thereby making a caricature of both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the comments by the UN High Commissioner concerning this matter and also damaging the entire United Nations and the idea of universal human rights. We need neither this torture-veiling-committee, nor its visits and we will not act as advisors to such a committee or be complicit with the corresponding assistance to the concealment of torture of psychiatric inmates. However, should the "European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)" in a first step be prepared to take a stand and fight the illegal ongoing psychiatric special laws of the governments of Germany and the other countries of the Council of Europe which have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a collaboration would certainly enter into the realm of the possible.

March / April 2010

This is a joint resolution of International Associaton Against
Psychiatric Assault (; der Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft
Psychiatrie- Erfahrener e.V. (; Landesverband
Psychiatrie-Erfahrener Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. and Irren-Offensive e.V.
in the Werner-Fuss-Zentrum (

i: cf Kaleck / Hilbrans / Scharmer, 2008: vgl. Kaleck/Hilbrans/Scharmer 2008: Gutachterliche Stellungnahme. Ratifikation der UN Disability Convention vom 30.03.2007 und Auswirkung auf die Gesetze für so genannte psychisch Kranke am Beispiel der Zwangsunterbringung und Zwangsbehandlung nach dem PsychKG Berlin.


ii: Further to q.v. Halmi, Alice: Coercive psychiatry a torture system. In: "Zwang" - Journal, No. 2, Berlin 2004, Page 4-7,


iii: Prof. Theresia Degener (Protestant University of Applied Sciences of Bochum) recommended, that "in her view, control and review of medical actions should not be exclusively on the hands of doctors (medical review) but of judges (judicial review)" In: Office of the high commissioner for human rights: Report on the Expert seminar on freedom from torture and ill treatment and persons with disabilities ", Geneva 11.12.2007,Page 12, URL: / docs / torture / seminartorturereportfinal.doc

iv: Psychiatrists in the CPT: Pétur Hauksson, Vladimir Ortakov, Olivera Vulić, Stefan Weinberg Krakowski, Nadia Polnareva, Anna Molnar. Cf.: European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): CPT Members. Effective [date]: 04.03.2010, URL:

v: "The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states clearly that deprivation of liberty based on the existence of a disability is contrary to international human rights law, is intrinsically discriminatory, and is therefore unlawful." In: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR): Dignity and Justice for Detainees week [6th-12th October 2008]. Information Note No. 4, Page 2, URL:

Qv: "Legislation Authorizing the Institutionalization of persons with disabilities on the grounds of their disability without their free and informed consent must be abolished. ... ". In: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR): Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner and the Secretary General. A/HCR/10/48, 26.1.2009, Page 16, URL:

vi: European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT): The CPT standarts. CPT / Inf / E (2002) 1 - Rev. 2006, Page 57, URL:

vii: Ibid.: Page 62

viii: CPT apt: - Council of Europe: A visit by the CPT-What's it all about? Geneva, May 1999, Page 10, URL:

ix: CPT: The CPT standards. CPT / Inf / E (2002) 1 - Rev. 2006, Page 14, URL:

x: Accentuation bold made by the authors

xi: Council of Europe: Der Europarat in Kürze. Effective [date]: 28.03.2010, URL:
and: United Nations: enable Ratifications - Countries that have ratified the Convention, Effective [date] 28.03.2010, URL:

xii: Q.v. e.g. in the "standards of the CPT:"Staff in psychiatric establishments should receive training in both non-physical and manual
control techniques vis-à-vis agitated or violent patients." "In: CPT: The CPT standards. CPT / Inf / E (2002) 1 - Rev. 2006, Page 63, URL: