Europe's top human rights body criticizes Belgian prisons

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Europe's top human rights institution is criticizing Belgian jail conditions and says it's worried about conditions for detainees amid a three-week strike by prison workers.

The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, says Friday that some detainees have not left their cells for weeks and have had no access to lawyers, family or friends. He said there was no regular shower or bathroom times for detainees, adding that "sanitary conditions in many cells raise serious concerns."

The government and trade unions have been in talks for several days to break the deadlock. Prison personnel want less austerity cuts, more staff and better working conditions.