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NEWS

MEPs and Fair Trials call for end to unjustified pre-trial detention

editor - May 27, 2016 - detention without trial, Pre-trial detention

A cross-party group of four MEPs has written a letter to Vĕra Jourová, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, to urge action on pre-trial detention practices within the EU. In the letter, the MEPs (Dennis de Jong, MEP, Birgit Sippel, MEP, Judith Sargentini, MEP, Nathalie Griesbeck, MEP) highlighted some of the problems around the practice of pre-trial detention in the region, including the issues raised in the recent Aranyosi and Căldăraru cases. The letter concluded by urging the Commissioner to take a number of steps:

  • The submission of a legislative proposal on pre-trial detention, as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 15 December 2011;
  • Publicly repeat the Commission’s long-standing position that in the application of the Framework Decision Member States should respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and that mutual recognition should not in any way undermine this principle;
  • The submission of legislative proposals clarifying the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant, as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 27 February 2014.

The letter followed the launch of a new report on pre-trial detention, coordinated by Fair Trials and featuring the input of NGOs and academic partners from across 10 EU Member States. The publication of the letter and report are timely, coming just weeks after Commissioner Jourová announcement that procedural safeguards for pre-trial detention are a priority area. The innovative research considered the challenges of ensuring safeguards around its use, as well as making recommendations on how the EU can address some of the issues around the measure. DSC00642The event in Parliament featured video case studies and first-hand accounts from researchers, highlighting just a small selection of the findings from the report. Among the stand out moments was the revelation that Italy paid out around €36 million in damages for unlawful detention last year, and is on course to surpass it this year. Also speaking at the event was Maïté De Rue, Deputy to the Prosecutor general at the CPT. As part of their presentation, they highlighted that 68% of remand prisoners in Sweden are held incommunicado, There were also contributions from Justice John Edwards, an Irish Court of Appeal judge, and Luca de Matteis from the Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Commission. The project gathered the findings from across 10 EU Member States, including as part of its research:

  • 242 hearings attended
  • 544 lawyers surveyed
  • 56 judges interviewed
  • 45 prosecutors interviewed
  • 672 case files reviewed

It was not just about statistics though, and the event also took time to tell the stories of people affected by pre-trial detention. The film was followed by a discussion between the project partners from the countries shown in the film.

https://youtu.be/zBlzWn7psTY There is still more to do. Find out more about our pre-trial detention campaign here.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on 020 7822 2370 or 07950 849 851.

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If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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