Humane treatment

The guards and the administration of the investigation prison must not treat you in an inhumane or degrading way during your detention. This means that they must not use excessive physical force against you. They must not humiliate you in other ways either, like using derogatory language or methods of punishment that are not allowed by law and are forbidden by human rights. They must also protect you if other inmates mistreat you physically or otherwise.

The State must have laws and regulations that explain when the prison staff can use force and in what ways, and they must have had proper training to assess the need to use force.


If you physically assault the guards or other detainees yourself or you are not complying with the order at the investigation prison, the guards might need to use physical force to restrain you and to protect you, themselves, and the other detainees from being hurt. However, they should not use more physical force than necessary to restrain you and to make you comply with your duties.

Examination by a doctor

If the prison staff have used force against you, you should be examined by a doctor.

Body searches

On some occasions you might be searched in the interests of the security of the investigation prison. It must be done by a person of the same gender as you. The purpose of the search must not be to humiliate you.

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment

Physical mistreatment and intimidation during detention may result in inhumane or degrading treatment. When detained, you may feel particularly vulnerable because you are under the control of the authorities and cannot leave. If you are mistreated in such a situation, it may result not only in physical pain and suffering but may also have psychological effects.

However, the mistreatment has to reach at least a minimum level of severity to result in a human rights violation. When assessing whether you have been treated in an inhumane or degrading way, such things as the duration of the mistreatment, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and the condition of your health would be taken into account. For mistreatment to be considered torture, the actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering.

Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Right to life

The use of excessive physical force may result in the death of the detainee. If the guards have used unnecessary deadly force, it may result in a violation of the right to life. Read more about how to evaluate whether the right to life has been violated. 

Read more about the use of physical force and harassment in detention. 

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education