(eng) European report raps Paris jail

Mon, 29 Jan 1996 18:49:35 +0100


STRASBOURG, France (Reuter) - Paris police jail foreigners
about to be expelled from France in detention centers that are
are sub-standard and unhealthy, the Council of Europe said
A Council report said that foreigners with criminal records
were held in cells underneath the main Paris law courts with
poor lighting and ventilation and no blankets or mattresses.
Conditions for foreigners being expelled solely for being in
the country illegally had improved since a prior inspection in
1991, but the general state of a detention center where they are
held near Paris was still substandard, said the report.
It said the detainees had no opportunity for exercise
outdoors and ``spent nearly all their time in their cells with
nothing to do.''
It included a reply from the French government saying close
to $5 million had been allocated to improve conditions in the
lock-ups. But the report added that Paris gave no time frame for
the improvements to be made.
The Council report follows several similar reports by French
human rights groups who allege that conditions in cells under
the Paris law courts are quasi-medieval.
The issue of expelling illegal immigrants, especially those
who have committed crimes, is a highly touchy one in France
where the status of immigrant groups is a sensitive political
Human rights groups challenge the legality of expelling
foreigners brought up in France and sentenced to prison terms
for criminal offenses.
They say this effectively means double punishment, once by a
jail term and then with expulsion to a country whose language
and customs they are often unacquainted with.
Several thousand such expulsions are ordered by the courts
each year but only about 20 percent are carried out.

Reut13:23 01-22-96