Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
30.08.1990

Facts

The applicants, Mr Fox, Mrs Campbell and Mr Hartley, were arrested by the police on the suspicion of being terrorists. A simple reference to a section of law was made without giving more specific information to the arrestees. However, few hours later they were interrogated and reference to specific offences were made.

Complaint

Applicants argued that they were not informed promptly about their charges, according to Article 5(2) of the Convention. 

Court's ruling

The Court stated that a person arrested must be told in simple, non-technical language that he can understand the essential legal and factual grounds for his or her arrest. Such information is essential for being able to apply to a court to challenge the lawfulness of arrest. Although this information must be given promptly, not every detail can be given at the moment of arrest. The promptness has to be evaluated in each case based on the specific circumstances. 

In case of the applicants, they were informed, by mere reference to a section of law, that they were arrested on the suspicion of terrorism, which is not in itself sufficient. However, a few hours later, when interrogated, reference to specific acts were made, which was considered sufficiently prompt and specific.