Aviva Stahl solitary confinement

“Concern over ‘political’ use of solitary confinement in European prisons”, an article by Aviva Stahl in the Guardian 2 May 2016

Terror threat prompts France, Belgium and the Netherlands to isolate prisoners in attempt to prevent radicalisation.

European prisons are increasingly resorting to solitary confinement to counteract the threat of terrorism, despite warnings about its impact, defence lawyers and human rights advocates say.

France, Belgium and the Netherlands are all deploying solitary and “small-group isolation” on suspected and convicted terrorists to prevent radicalisation of prisoners.

In Belgium, about 35 people are placed on isolation measures, spending 23 hours a day in their cell and one hour in a small recreation yard, also alone. Four individuals are in solitary confinement on the recently opened de-radicalisation units in the country, with more expected to arrive in the future.

In France, an unknown number of terrorism suspects are being in held in isolation blocks. Over the past year or so, France has also established several dedicated units for deradicalisation, but an apparent lack of rehabilitative or therapeutic programming means prisoners remain in their cells most of the day.

In the Netherlands, where terrorist wings have nearly reached their capacity, men are being strip and cavity searched each time they have contact with a third party or go to court.

“I’m very concerned about political pressures to isolate terrorists and to build special units to isolate them,” said Sharon Shalev, a research associate at Oxford University’s faculty of law and an expert on solitary confinement. “The public, our politicians, and our prison administrations, should keep a cool head,” she added.

Read the article here 



About

Prison activist and editor. Currently preparing a book on the introduction of maximum security prisons in Belgium and Europe, including the practice of solitary confinement. In 2008, Luk started the Belgian Prisoners' Family & Friends Association. (http://familiesfriendsassociation.blogspot.be/ In 2009, with Farida Aarrass he launched the Campaign Free Ali Aarrass (www.freeali.eu ). In 2012 he organised the Committee of the Families of European detainees in Morocco (http://prisonnierseuropeensaumaroc.blogspot.be/). Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011). Contributions : « Etats généraux sur les conditions carcérales en Europe : La condition pénitentiaire, regards belges, français et européens"» (2010, éditions MGER) ; « The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe »(2010, Race & Class) ; « Gevangenissen: spiegel van onze samenleving » (2013, MO Mondiaal Nieuws) Publishing house : www.antidote.be


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