News from Mannin Branch Celtic League:
The Celtic League has written to the Council of Europe CPT following a death in custody which occurred in the Isle of Man:
“Mr Hugh Chetwynd
Head of Division
Council of Europe
F67075 Strasbourg Cedex
6th December 2016
I refer you the attached news cuttings concerning a death in custody of a man detained by police in the Isle of Man arrest (links):
You will note from the reports that the death occurred whilst the man was detained at the Island’s hospital under Police observation.
I know that CPT and indeed other bodies such as the ICRC take very seriously any deaths in custody and highlight the need for investigations to be thorough and independent. I am mindful of a recent CPT State report in which this issue was highlighted.
I do hope that on its next periodic visit to the ‘UNITED KINGDOM – ISLE OF MAN’ the CPT will enquire into adequacy of systems in place at the time of this death and any steps taken thereafter to address deficiencies indentified.
The foreword to the ICRC guidelines for investigating deaths in custody says:
“When people are deprived of their liberty, responsibility for their fate rests mainly with the detaining authorities, who must guarantee the life and physical integrity of each detainee. Therefore, when someone dies in custody, it is only fitting that an independent investigation be conducted – regardless of the presumed cause of death, which may be natural or accidental, but which may also have been an instance of unlawful killing or the result of ill treatment or inadequate conditions of detention. A prompt, impartial and effective investigation is essential for ascertaining the cause of death, for preventing similar incidents in the future and ensuring the security of other prisoners, for informing the next of kin and for reassuring the public of the authorities’ commitment to fulfilling their national and international obligations. An investigation of this sort is also a prerequisite for conducting any civil and/or criminal proceedings that may be appropriate. International humanitarian law and international human rights law provide for the obligation”.
I trust that the CPT will also enquire into the systems that the Isle of Man government have in place for the ‘independent investigation’ of deaths in custody and if these are fit for purpose.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
pp Celtic League”
Image: CPT building Strasbourg
pp Celtic League.