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Pre-trial detention should be a ‘last resort’ says committee

Pre-trial detention should be used “only exceptionally, as a last resort”, according to PACE’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee.

Approving a report by Pedro Agramunt (Spain, EPP/CD), the committee recalled that around 25 per cent of all prisoners in Europe in 2013 were thought to be in pre-trial detention.

Citing cases from Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, the committee said it had observed “abusive” use of pre-trial detention, such as to extort confessions or bribes, discredit political competitors or silence critical voices.

“Permissible grounds for pre-trial detention, notably to prevent a suspect from absconding, or interfering with witnesses and other evidence, are generally interpreted too widely,” the committee said in a draft resolution.

There was a dissenting opinion to the report by Eka Beselia (Georgia, SOC).