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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                        

Republic of Latvia

Latvia has one of the highest prison population rates in the EU. Prisons continue to suffer from overcrowding, and abuses of detainees and prisoners by law enforcement agents has been reported.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Latvia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Latvia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Latvia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 26 July 2021]


The law prohibits such practices. The ombudsman received two reports of physical abuse by police officers during the year.


Some reports regarding prison or detention center conditions raised human rights concerns. Prisoners complained about insufficient ventilation, natural light, hygiene, cleaning supplies, and nutrition.


Detainees have the right to an attorney who may be present during questioning. In 2017, however, the CPT noted receiving a number of accusations from detained persons (including juveniles) that they had been subjected to informal questioning without the presence of a lawyer, prior to the taking of a formal statement in the lawyer’s presence. Some detainees alleged they were physically mistreated or threatened with physical violence during such periods of initial questioning.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 17 May 2020]


Latvia has one of the highest prison population rates in the EU. Prisons continue to suffer from overcrowding, and abuses of detainees and prisoners by law enforcement agents has been reported.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Latvia

Executive Summary, 29 June 2017

[accessed 4 June 2020]

The  visit  revealed  that  persons  remanded  in  custody  by  courts  were  still  frequently  held  in  police detention  facilities  well  beyond  the  statutory  limit  of  48  hours,  pending  their  transfer  to  a  remand facility.  Further,  as  during  previous  visits,  the  delegation  came  across  a  number  of cases  in  which persons  placed  in  a  remand  prison  had  been  returned  to  a  police  establishment  for  the  purpose of investigative work, for periods ranging from several days to two weeks.

Material conditions of detention were generally good at Cēsis Correctional Institution for Juveniles as  well  as  at  the  Daugavpils  Section  of Daugavgrīva  Prison  which  had  recently  undergone  major refurbishment.  In  contrast,  most  of  the  prisoner  accommodation  areas  in  the  Grīva  Section  of Daugavgrīva Prison were in an advanced state of dilapidation (for example, crumbling walls, badly worn  and  sometimes  even  rotten  floors,  decrepit  furniture,  etc.)  and  severely  affected  by  humidity due  to the  absence  of  a  ventilation  system.  Further,  many  cells  had  very  limited  access  to  natural light,  and  the  in-cell  sanitary  facilities  in  a large  number  of  cells  were  in  an  appalling  state  of hygiene.

Anti-torture monitors report on Latvia

Council of Europe, HUMAN RIGHTS EUROPE, 27 August 2013

[accessed 27 Jan 2014]

Incidents of police brutality and “inhuman and degrading” custody conditions have been uncovered in a new report on Latvia by anti-torture monitors.

Report to the Latvian Government on the visit to Latvia carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 5 to 15 September 2011

Council of Europe, European Committee for the Prevention of Torture CPT, Strasbourg, 27 August 2013

[accessed 21 March 2014]


11. In the course of the visit, the delegation received a number of allegations from detained persons of physical ill-treatment by police officers. The ill-treatment alleged consisted, in the main, of punches and kicks, and in a few cases of inappropriate use of truncheons and too-tight handcuffing. It was said to have occurred at the time of apprehension and/or subsequently, during the initial stay at a police establishment (including during questioning). Some allegations were also received of threats and verbal abuse.

It should be stressed that no allegations of physical ill-treatment were received in respect of police officers performing custodial tasks in police detention facilities.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/LVA/CO/2 (2008)

[accessed 3 March 2013]

Detention on remand, including pre-trial detention

10. While noting the new Criminal Procedure Law, which reduces the apprehension phase from 72 to 48 hours and introduces the system of an investigative judge who shall decide on the application of detention on remand, as well as reports that the duration of detention on remand has been reduced, the Committee remains concerned at reports of prolonged periods of detention on remand, including pre-trial detention, and the high risk of ill-treatment which it entails and regrets the lack of use of alternatives to imprisonment.  While noting that the Law on the Procedure of Holding Detainees requires the procedure of holding criminal suspects in police short-term detention cells and sets standards for conditions of detention in these cells, the Committee is concerned at information that this does not apply to cells in small police stations where detainees can be held up to 12 hours (arts. 2, 11 and 16).


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 6 January 2019]

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Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

While judicial independence is generally respected, corruption continues to be a problem. In January 2008, two district court judges were sentenced to eight years in prison for accepting bribes. A special parliamentary commission investigating alleged corruption among prominent judges and politicians in the 1990s issued an inconclusive report in September 2008; although three judges resigned over the allegations, none were charged with a crime as of year’s end. Legal prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and the right to a fair trial are largely observed in practice. However, lengthy pretrial detention remains a concern. Law enforcement officials have reportedly used excessive force against detainees, and prison inmates suffer from overcrowding and inadequate medical care.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were reports that government officials employed them.

The Latvian Center for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies (LCHRES) received allegations of severe abuse of persons in custody. During a ward search in July, 11 inmates at Valmiera prison sustained serious injuries, including broken ribs, consistent with the use of police batons. Some of the injured did not receive medical attention for 12 to 48 hours.

Accurate statistics on reports of police brutality were unavailable. On February 18, the state police initiated a criminal case against two police officers who beat two individuals apprehended for public drunkenness. Their trial was ongoing at year's end.

LCHRES expressed concern that victims underreported incidents of police brutality. In February 2004 LCHRES conducted a study in which it operated a hot line to collect allegations of police brutality from anonymous callers. Over a 3-day period, LCHRES received 283 complaints regarding police misconduct, 130 of which referred to police brutality. During the year the Latvian National Human Rights Office (NHRO) received 11 written and 23 verbal complaints regarding misconduct. The NHRO reported that the Ministry of Interior and police officials were cooperative in resolving complaints of police brutality, and the NHRO arranged for meetings between complainants and relevant law enforcement agencies where, according to NHRO officials, the Ministry of Interior collected testimony that it used to identify police officials guilty of abuse.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Latvia",, [accessed <date>]