Macedonia Guilty of Unlawful Detention

The right to liberty and security was violated when 72 persons were unlawfully held in detention, says the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in a case submitted by our partner, the Macedonian Helsinki Committee in co-operation with Civil Rights Defenders.

The case has been handled within the Legal Aid Department of the Macedonian Helsinki Committee, which has been developed and made possible through the partnership with Civil Rights Defenders.

The case referred to 72 people who were accused of fraudulently collecting over 5 million Euros in the form of road toll charges in 2007, and therefore put in detention. The detention was extended several times between December 2007 and March 2008. Some of the detained appealed against the extensions, but unsuccessfully. The trial started in April 2008 and in November the same year the applicants were found guilty. However the appeal court quashed their sentence and sent the case for a fresh examination. The proceedings are still pending.

In 2008 the Macedonian Helsinki Committee submitted the case to the European Court. The Court found that the 38 applicants had their rights violated by having been put in detention unlawfully without justification. The judgement did not just apply to the 38 applicants but to all 72 who were detained.

This is the first judgement against Macedonia regarding article 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.