1V.   STATEMENTS OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S CONCERNS

1.  Maltreatment of persons detained in police stations appears to have occurred in a number of the cases examined by the delegates.

2.  Maltreatments appears to have been carried out systematically by detectives who appear to specialise in the use of oppressive methods in extracting statements from persons suspected of involvement in serious politically motivated crimes. 

3.  In a number of cases reported to the Amnesty International delegates impediments in access to legal counsel seem to have aggregated the risk of violation of detained person’s rights.   

4.  Insufficient safeguards exist in law regarding the rights of suspects while they are in police custody. The Judges Rules for the guidance of police when questioning suspects are not legally binding, and rights guaranteed under the Constitution, such as the right of habeas corpus, do not eliminate the risk of maltreatment as is shown in the cases examined by the Amnesty International mission. (The Supreme Court has ruled that seven day detention is not itself in violation of habeas corpus.)   

5.  The Special Criminal Court has seemingly failed or refused to scrutinize allegations of maltreatment according to the principles of law which govern the burden of proof with regard to the admissibility of statements.         

6.  The concerns in points 1,2,3 and 4 are strengthened by the fact that a person detained in police custody without prompt access to a solicitor or other witnesses is necessarily at a disadvantage in proving maltreatment he or she may have been subjected to. Amnesty International is concerned that a period of up to seven days detention without charge increases the risk of maltreatment because it can further reduce the possibility of verifying allegations.         

7. The concerns in point 6 and that incidents of brutality may not be verified are increased by the fact hat this reduces the possibility of bringing successful action (civil, criminal or disciplinary) against those responsible for maltreating suspects. If persons responsible for acts of maltreatment feel immune in law that may in itself contribute to incidence of maltreatment.    

8.  Amnesty International is concerned that despite widespread allegations made public in Ireland earlier that persons under arrest had been maltreated, the Government of the time saw no necessity to instigate an impartial inquiry into these allegations, although some of them, as shown in this report, would at least appear to have been well founded. Amnesty International is particularly concerned at this view of the fact that the Irish Government made a significant contribution towards the adoption by the UN General Assembly of 9 December1975 of the Declaration on the Protection of ALL persons from being subjected to torture or Other Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or punishment, which specifically recommends impartial investigation of such allegations. This is particularly important in the absence of independent complaints machinery for investigation or complaints against the poli