Victims of judicial failures, wrong arrests

EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER

Members of Parliament debate about the constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 04 October 2017.

Victims of judicial failures, wrong arrests


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Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law, pursuant to Article 6 Paragraph 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

I believe the key word here is “charged” because Article 5 Paragraph 3 of this Convention reads that anyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

Further to that, Article 5 Paragraph 5 states that everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Let’s ponder on the words “victim of arrest” and “detention”. They are fully applicable to Vladimir Kokorev whose case demonstrates that an allegedly correct detention can run over years at the stage of preliminary investigation and actually transform into the service of sentence without any court decision.

As we can see, Spanish law enforcement agencies trample the following fundamentals of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights:

1) A person can be found guilty only after conviction by a competent court

2) Legal proceedings are conducted within a reasonable time

3) A person charged with an offence must be informed of the cause of the accusation to allow him preparing his defence.

As I know, Kokorev has not been charged since being arrested in 2015. Which terms of pre-trial investigation are considered reasonable in the Canary Islands? Two years? Five years? Ten years? This is an absurd situation and it gives ground to question the existence of any real and motivated charges against him. Suppose Kokorev is charged of money laundering. Where is the investigation of this crime? If there is none, is it lawful to talk about money laundering?

We promise that every European citizen will be protected by law. Do we deliver our promises given to our voters? Do we always protect people, particularly, from the arbitrary actions of law enforcement officers, with some of them believing that half of all people seek to circumvent their government?

Our task is not only to assist law enforcement bodies in combating crime, which is their major task, but also to control operation of these bodies and curb every attempt to violate human rights and fiddle with words.

I believe that every violation of fundamental human rights must be thoroughly checked and investigated. And meaningful steps must be taken against every public officer who is guilty of committing these violations. Everyone has only one single life to live and I wish no one would ever be the victim of a judicial failure or wrong arrest.

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