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There must be proper rules on detention without trial

Toniolo v. San Marino and Italy  | 2012

There must be proper rules on detention without trial

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

Opening of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Background

Giuseppe Toniolo was detained in San Marino, on suspicion of financial wrongdoing. He was due to be extradited to Italy. Mr Toniolo claimed that he had done nothing wrong. He also claimed that his detention was unnecessary, given that he was not dangerous and there was no risk of him absconding.

Nevertheless, Mr Toniolo spent five weeks in detention in San Marino. According to him, he had no access to his lawyers, and was not properly heard by a court. Mr Toniolo was eventually extradited to Italy, where he was ultimately released.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The Strasbourg court found that there was no law in San Marino which clearly stated when or why detention would be necessary for someone awaiting extradition. This meant that Mr Toniolo could be detained arbitrarily, and could not effectively make a claim to be released. This violated his right to liberty.

Follow-up

In 2014 a comprehensive new law set out the rules which must be followed for extradition or detention cases, and gave people an opportunity to bring legal challenges against these measures.