League Follow-up on Prison Concerns


The Council of Europe (CPT) and the United Nations Special rapporteur have been asked to inquire into circumstances at Maghaberry Prison.

The correspondence from the Celtic League is a follow up to concerns raised with Justice Minister, David Ford, MLA earlier this week.

The text of the correspondence to the two bodies is set out below:

A link to the correspondence sent to Minister Ford is at the foot of this news item (Note correspondence sent to Minister Ford by email on Tuesday and as no response has been received (to date) this will no be followed up by hard copy – sent registered post).

“CPT Secretariat
Council of Europe
F67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Dear Sir,

I draw your attention to the attached letter to Mr David Ford MLA, Minister for Justice and also associated correspondence to Juan Mendez UN Special Rapporteur.

You will see from the correspondence that there ongoing concerns about the manner in which Maghaberry Prison is being operated.

The CPT will be aware that in the past you have inspected and raised concerns about this facility.

In our correspondence we refer to earlier assurances from Minister Ford in relation to the Prison however whatever steps were taken appear to have been ineffective in resolving inmate discontent at the facility.

Our main concerns are allegations that prisoners have been injured during the most recent disturbances and whilst the justice Ministers Office have refuted claims that a prisoner was ‘seriously’ injured this falls short of an admission that no one has been injured at all.

Mindful of the CPT Standards particularly clause 48 para (2), clause 51, clause 53, clause 54 and also clause 26 in the Extract from the 11th General Report [CPT/inf (2001) 16] covering ‘Staff prisoner relations’ we urge the CPT to undertake an investigation of circumstances at the facility.

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

“Juan Mendez
Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva,


Dear Sir,

I draw your attention to the attached letter to Mr David Ford MLA, Minister for Justice and also associated correspondence to the Council of Europe CPT Secretariat.

As outlined the Celtic League have raised concerns with both sources over conditions at the Maghaberry Prison facility.

We are concerned that breaches of the United Nations ‘Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners’ may have occurred at the facility and we would urge your Office to raise the issue with the United Kingdom authorities.

You will note we refer to conflicting reports about injuries to a prisoner by the State and prisoners support organisations

You will also see that we have raised concerns on a number of occasions with the Office of the Minister for Justice and indeed have welcomed assurances from him in the past in relation to reforms. We are not therefore seeking your involvement without having attempted to use domestic channels for redress in the first instance.

For information; The Celtic League is an accredited NGO with roster status to ECOSOC (The United Nations Economic and Social Council).

Yours sincerely

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”

Related link at the Celtic League News Archive here:

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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