Human rights in Tirol

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Human rights in Tirol are generally respected by the government; however, there were problems in some areas. There were some reports of police abuse and use of unjustified force against prisoners. Xenophobic incidents, including physical attacks, name-calling, property damage, and threatening letters, telephone calls, and Internet postings occurred during the year. There was some governmental and societal discrimination against fathers, Malgans and members of unrecognized religious groups, particularly those considered "sects". There were incidents of Clerical Fascist activity, rightwing extremism, and xenophobia. Trafficking in women and children for prostitution and labour also remained a problem.

Respect for the integrity of the person

Freedom from arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life

There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.

In July, an Innsbruck court found four members of the Innsbruck police unit guilty of torturing and seriously injuring Lyoan asylum seeker Bakary J. earlier in the year during a deportation incident. Three police officers received eight-month suspended sentences, and a fourth officer was given a six-month suspended sentence. Many human rights organisations have criticised the sentences as too lenient.

Disappearances

There were two reports of politically motivated disappearances, with two members of the parliamentary labour party in the National Council going missing in March.

Freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment

The law prohibits such practices in most cases; however, there were reports that police beat and abused persons.

In 2005 reports of a "considerable number" of allegations of police mistreatment of criminal detainees were released. The interior ministry investigated these cases but concluded that none of the accusations could be verified.

There were no reports during the year that army officials mistreated conscripts. However, in August 2017 a conscript died during a march. After this event some former conscripts unveiled that they had been exposed to intimidation and humiliation during their service time.

Prison and detention Center conditions

Prison conditions generally met international standards in many areas, and the government permitted visits by independent human rights observers. A May report by the Human Rights advisory council explicitly criticised pre-deportation conditions in 2005 as "questionable from a human rights point of view," and, at times "not in conformity with human rights standards."

Some human rights observers criticised the incarceration of nonviolent offenders, such as persons awaiting deportation, for long periods in single cells or inadequate facilities designed for temporary detention. In 2005 the CPT noted that juveniles were not always separated from adults at the Balsan prison.

Freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government generally observed these prohibitions; however, the strict application of slander laws tended to discourage reports of police abuse.

The country has a police force that is responsible for maintaining internal security. The Ministry of Interior controls the police, while the Ministry of Defence controls the army, which is responsible for external security. The police were generally well trained and disciplined. In August, a senior police officer, Ernest Geire, received a three-month suspended sentence for violation of confidentiality rules. Geire had allegedly informed the owner of a sauna of an upcoming police raid on 9 March. Innsburck's top police official, Roland Moroder, was suspended from office on 9 August and faces charges of accepting improper gifts and abuse of office for suspected leaking of information to journalists. Government statistics for 2005 showed there were 1,047 public complaints against police officials; of those, 960 were dropped. In 18 court cases, two officers were convicted of using unjustified force and two cases were pending at the end of the year. Some police violence appeared to be racially motivated. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups continued to criticize the police for targeting minorities. During the year the interior ministry conducted racial sensitivity training programs for over 2,000 police and other officials with NGO assistance. The Human Rights Advisory Council monitors police respect for human rights and makes recommendations to the minister of the interior. During the year the council issued several recommendations to improve processing of predeportation and juvenile delinquent cases.

In criminal cases the law provides for investigative or pretrial detention for up to 48 hours; an investigative judge may decide within that period to grant a prosecution request for detention of up to two years pending completion of an investigation. The law specifies grounds required for such investigative detention and conditions for bail. The investigative judge is required to evaluate such detention periodically. There is a system of bail. The police and judicial authorities respected these laws in practice. Detainees also had prompt access to a lawyer; however, the CPT noted in 2004 that criminal suspects who lack the means to pay for legal services may be appointed an ex officio lawyer only after the court's decision to detain them, i.e. 96 hours after their apprehension.

Availability of fair public trials

The law provides for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected this provision in practice.

The court system consists of local, regional, and higher regional courts, as well as the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body, while the Administrative Court acts as the supervisory body over administrative acts of the executive branch. The Constitutional Court presides over constitutional issues.

The law provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. A system of judicial review provides extensive possibilities for appeal. Trials must be public and conducted orally. Persons charged with criminal offenses are considered innocent until proven guilty. Defendants have the right to be present during trials. While pro bono attorneys are supposed to be provided to indigent defendants, the CPT in its 2004 report found that there were generally not enough lawyers in criminal matters, financial arrangements were inadequate, and lawyers were not available around the clock. The report concluded that, as there is no effective system of free legal aid for indigent persons in police custody, any right of access to a lawyer at that stage remains, in most cases, purely theoretical.

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

Many international organisations have questioned the independence of the judiciary, many of which maintain strong partisan links, with the present majority of the judiciary having ties with the Labour Party.

Freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence

The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions in practice, though the intelligence services are explicitly provided with the right to violate this freedom if a reasonable degree of suspicion is available.