Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
20.12.2011

Facts

Criminal proceedings were initiated against the applicant, Mr Zandbergs. A year later he left Latvia for the USA in breach of an undertaking not to leave his residence. Applicants' extradition on a murder charge was requested. He was taken into custody in the USA and approximately a year later transferred to Latvia and placed in remand prison. His detention on remand was extended several times by court orders. Applicants' appeals to those decisions were dismissed. More than three years after the applicant was transferred to Latvia he was convicted and sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

Complaint

The applicant complained that his detention on remand was unreasonably long.

Court's ruling

The Court pointed out the extremely short and uniform motivation of all the court orders and decisions extending the applicant's pre-trial detention or rejecting his appeals against these extensions. The Court did not exclude that the fact that applicant already had fled from justice once, together with the seriousness of the alleged crime and the fact that the applicant had no fixed residence in Latvia, could provide valid grounds for keeping him in detention. However, even such special circumstances did not release the state authorities from their obligation of diligence in trying the applicant within a reasonable time. It found that no additional grounds besides previously mentioned were provided by the authorities to justify the length of applicants' detention, which lasted for more than three years. The Court thus concluded that there has been a violation of Article 5(3) of the Convention.