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EuropeanConventionHandbookForPolice

Deprivation of liberty

Deprivation of liberty Page 61 in proscribed terrorist organisations. The Court determined that in the circumstances the reasons for the detention had thereby been brought to the notice of the applicants within the constraints of ‘promptness’. 179 ■ In Dikme v Turkey, the Court considered that a threat made to the applicant at the outset of his interrogation was in the circumstances enough to satisfy Article 5(2) since it had contained a ‘fairly precise indication’ of the suspicion of criminal activity. 180 The right of a suspect to be brought ‘promptly’ before a judge: Article 5(3) The requirement that a person detained is brought ‘promptly’ 181 before a judge serves two purposes. Primarily, this is considered necessary to allow the lawfulness of detention to be assessed and a determination made as to whether the individual should be released or detained in custody pending determination of guilt or innocence. 182 Secondly, prompt judicial appearance also assists in the protection against incommunicado detention and, more generally, helps prevent ill-treatment during police custody. As discussed, Article 5’s concern for liberty and security of person concentrates upon the question of whether the loss of liberty is – and remains – lawful, and in this way seeks to protect individuals against arbitrary deprivations of liberty. Issues relating to the personal security and well-being of detainees are more properly a matter for Article 3, which proscribes the infliction of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and ultimately, for Article 2 which requires respect for the right to life. However, there is a close relationship between the aims of each of these three guarantees, as acknowledged by the Court: Prompt judicial intervention may lead to the detection and prevention of lifethreatening measures or serious ill-treatment which violate the fundamental guarantees contained in Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention. … What is at stake is both the protection of the physical liberty of individuals as well as their personal security in a context which, in the absence of safeguards, could result in a 179 Fox, Campbell and Hartley v the United Kingdom, judgment of 30 August 1990 at paragraph 40. 180 Dikme v Turkey, judgment of 11 July 2000 at paragraphs 55-57 (‘You belong to Devrimci Sol [an illegal organisation], and if you don’t give us the information we need, you’ll be leaving here feet first!’). 181 The interpretation of the guarantee has not been without difficulty, for while the English text of Article 5, paragraph 3, uses the term ‘promptly’, the French text refers to ‘aussitôt’ which, literally, means ‘immediately’. 182 Brogan and Others v the United Kingdom, judgment of 29 November 1988 at paragraph 58.

The European Convention on Human Rights and Policing Page 62 subversion of the rule of law and place detainees beyond the reach of the most rudimentary forms of legal protection.’ 183 Fulfilment of the right cannot be made dependent upon a specific request by an accused person but must be conferred automatically. 184 While most legal systems guarantee that a detainee is brought before a judge, prescribed time limits for bringing a detained suspect before a judge can vary in differing legal systems. The Court’s case law suggests that appearance before a judge must take place within four days (unless in wholly exceptional cases, a period exceeding 96 hours before a detainee is released or brought before a judicial officer may be deemed justified, for example on account of the health of the detainee or geographical considerations). However, since the crucial purpose of the requirement is to provide effective judicial control against arbitrary deprivation of liberty, there may in consequence be a responsibility to ensure the appearance of a detainee before a judge sooner than 96 hours in certain cases. ■ In İpek and Others v Turkey, minors had been arrested as part of an investigation into terrorist offences and had been held for two days before being questioned. No assistance of a lawyer had been offered as the offences had fallen within the jurisdiction of State security courts. Three days and nine hours after the arrests they were brought before a judge. In emphasising that the authorities do not enjoy unrestricted power under Article 5 to arrest suspects for questioning free from effective control by domestic courts, the age of the suspect, delay in interrogating and lack of legal assistance all supported a finding that the applicant had not been brought ‘promptly’ before a judge. 185 Delays attributable to determinations by police officers that denial of access to a court is necessary, for example to address the threat of terrorism, are unlikely to be acceptable. ■ In Ireland v the United Kingdom, there had been failures to involve any judicial official of any kind, let alone ‘promptly’: here, domestic law allowed for detention for up to seven days to enable an investigation into involvement in terrorist activity to take place. Only at the end of this period would a detainee have had the right to have been brought before a judge, or else released. This was held to be a violation of Article 5(3). 186 183 Kurt v Turkey, judgment of 25 May 1998 at paragraph 123. 184 Aquilina v Malta, judgment of 29 April 1999 at paragraph 49. 185 İpek and Others v Turkey, judgment of 3 February 2009 at para 34. 186 Ireland v the United Kingdom, judgment of 18 January 1978 at paragraph 199.