Monday 13 November 2006, by Mir Miriam
In the Case of «Chraidi v. Germany» of 26 October 2006, Application no. 65655/01, the ECtHR examined the application lodged by Mr. Yasser Chraidi (a stateless person) against the Federal Republic of Germany. In the present case, the applicant was arrested in Lebanon and extradited to Germany based on an arrest warrant being issued against him. The German Court accused the applicant of being involved in the preparations of a «terrorist attack», and therefore Mr Chraidi stayed during a period of five years and almost six months under detention on remand.
In this Case, the applicant has alleged violation of Article 5.3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), complaining that his detention on remand had lasted too long, and of Article 6.2 of the ECHR, complaining that the length of his detention on remand violated the presumption of innocence.
JUDGEMENT OF THE ECtHR CHRAIDI vs. GERMANY
In the Case of «Chraidi v. Germany» of 26 October 2006, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) examined the application lodged by Mr. Yasser Chraidi against the Federal Republic of Germany. In the present case, the applicant was arrested in Lebanon and extradited to Germany based on an arrest warrant being issued against him. The German Court accused the applicant of being involved in the preparations of a «terrorist attack», and therefore Mr Chraidi stayed during a period of five years and almost six months under detention on remand.
The applicant alleged before the ECtHR violation of Article 5.3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) , complaining that his detention on remand had lasted too long, and of Article 6.2 of the ECHR , complaining that the length of his detention on remand violated the presumption of innocence.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The applicant, Mr. Chraidi, born in Lebanon and presently living there, was arrested by the police in Lebanon, and taken into detention with a view to be extradited to Germany on the basis of an arrest warrant against him that had been issued by the Berlin Tiergarten District Court. The court accused the applicant of having prepared together with five other suspects a bomb attack in the discotheque «La Belle» in Berlin in April 1986, where three persons were finally killed and 104 were seriously injured. In May 1996 the applicant was extradited to Germany and held in detention on remand on account of the arrest warrant.
Between 1997 and 2000 the Berlin Court of Appeal repeatedly ordered the applicant’s further detention on remand. In January 2000 the Berlin Regional Court rejected the applicant’s request for release because there appeared to be a danger of absconding. Then, this Court considered that continued detention was proportionate because of the serious nature of those offences, the prospective sentence, the importance of the case and the public interest in the prosecution of these crimes.
Finally, on November 2001, the Berlin Regional Court convicted the applicant of three counts of aiding and abetting murder, on 104 counts of aiding and abetting murder and of aiding and abetting causing an explosion. The detention was deducted from his prison sentence and the judgment was served on 10 January 2003. On April 2005 the applicant was released. The applicant’s detention on remand thus lasted for a period of five years and almost six months.
THE LAW AND THE COURT’S OPINION
Once the ECtHR considered the complaint being admissible, it then proceeded to analyze the reasonableness of the length of detention and the continued detention.
As regards the reasonableness of the length of detention, the ECtHR considered that justification for somebody to remain in detention must be assessed in a case by case basis according to its special features. In this context, the Court was of the opinion that continued detention can be justified in a given case only if there are specific indications of a genuine requirement of public interest, which outweighs the rule of respect for individual liberty, and with the persistence of reasonable suspicion that the person arrested has committed an offence. Therefore it considered that the specific nature of the offences mentioned above and, in particular, the difficulties intrinsic to the investigations of offences committed by criminal associations acting on a global scale, called for special consideration.
Regarding the continued detention, the ECtHR accepted that the reasonable suspicion had persisted throughout the trial leading to his conviction; the alleged offences were of a serious nature and that a substantial risk of the applicant’s absconding persisted over the total period of his detention. It accepted that no other measures to secure his presence would have been appropriate.
Consequently, the ECtHR concluded that there had been relevant and sufficient grounds for the applicant’s continued detention and, because of the exceptional circumstances of this trial, the length of the applicant’s detention could be regarded as reasonable. Moreover, looking at all the proceedings that took place, the ECtHR found that the national court acted with the necessary special diligence in conducting the applicant’s proceedings.
For all these reasons, the ECtHR finally held that there had been no violation of Article 5.3 of the ECHR and that there was no need to examine the complaint about the length of the applicant’s detention on remand under Article 6.2 of the ECHR.
Document:You may find the ECtHR ruling in the following link
 Article 5.3 provides that « (…) Everyone 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 authorized 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.»
 Article 6.2 stipulates that « (…) Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law».