Case Studies

Daniela Tarău: Stuck in pre-trial detention


Daniela Tarău, a Romanian national was arrested in 2001 under charges of affiliation with an organized group committing fraud. The charges were based on her time working at a firm for only three weeks on probation. She always maintained her innocence.

Daniela was issued with an arrest warrant and spent one year and nine months in pre-trial detention.  In detention she faced very difficult conditions including only one 15 minute shower a week, sharing a bed with another cell-mate, and extremely limited medical care. In May 2002, Daniela’s father died whilst she was still in detention in a penitentiary. She was not allowed to attend his funeral.  Daniela was eventually released in 2002 and finally acquitted in 2009, after filing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the infringement of her right to a fair trial and excessive length of detention.

Daniela had monthly review hearings, but the detention orders were often the same. In her first eight month detention location she says that her review hearings were the only time she could see the sun. Despite this, her participation in these hearings was zero. There is also the issue of the limited time given to study the casefile before the hearings- judges have very little time and thus mainly rely on prosecutor’s arguments. Defence lawyers also often have a 30 minute maximum to review the case before the hearing. This makes it very difficult for detention review decisions to be fully and fairly considered.

National courts in Romania often fail to provide substantial reasoning on pre-trial detention orders. Mainly their arguments have to do with the potential danger the suspect or accused poses for society, the flight risk, and the possibility that he might interfere with the investigation.