Sarah's speech to Parliament on pre-trial detention
Sarah Ludford on behalf of the ALDE Group . - Mr President we are told that detention conditions are a national responsibility. It is shocking then that over one third of Member States have not ratified the Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture which establishes a system of inspection visits. We should be ashamed that the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture is having to take an interest.
Pre-trial detention is meant to be an exceptional measure but we have Member States where the majority of the prison population is made up of people who have not been convicted of any crime. As Commissioner Kallas has said non-nationals are given an exceptionally bad deal. My constituent Andrew Symeou was held in Greece for almost two years in pre-trial detention in horrendous conditions before his case finally came to trial and where a Greek national would almost certainly have been granted bail. He was be it noted acquitted.
Member States should implement the European supervision order as an alternative to pre-trial detention but we also need common rules to cut down abuses. On which note I would draw attention to the fact that the Italian President has said that the situation of prisons in Italy is a democratic emergency. My former MEP colleague Marco Pannella a very brave man is on hunger strike in protest. We have to give our support for fundamental rights including in prison.