Torture in  [Latvia]  [other countries]
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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                    

Republic of Latvia

Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07; but entered a recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy.

The current account deficit and inflation remain major concerns.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

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.

*** ARCHIVES ***

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).

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]

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.

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

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

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.

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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>]



Torture in  [Latvia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Latvia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Latvia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Latvia]  [other countries]