Detained without trial

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Produced in response to a European Commission consultation launched in June 2011, this report contains the shocking stories of people whose lives have been turned upside down by the excessive and arbitrary use of pre-trial detention.

In collaboration with international law firm, Clifford Chance, Fair Trials International has compared the law and practice in 15 EU countries and the report calls for several concrete steps to be taken to address the situation.

Although the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits arbitrary detention, in reality, excessive and arbitrary pre-trial detention is common, as are poor conditions and lack of legal advice. Only clear, enforceable laws setting basic standards on when, and how, pre-trial detention can be used, will force countries to stop imposing detention arbitrarily or for longer than necessary.

Our demands include:

  • new EU laws setting minimum standards for the use of pre-trial detention;
  • effective use of the European Supervision Order and other alternatives to pre-trial detention;
  • deferred extradition under European Arrest Warrants, until the case is ready for trial; and
  • steps by the EU towards establishing a one year maximum pre-trial detention limit.