Intervention at European Court to protect right to access lawyer in early stages of detention
The APT has intervened as a third party in the case of Simeonovi v. Bulgaria before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. Significantly, the referral to the Grand Chamber will consider the right to access a lawyer in the first hours of police detention.
We assert that the right to prompt and confidential access to legal counsel in the first hours of police detention is a fundamental safeguard against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Refusal of legal assistance at this critical moment, when detainees face the greatest risk to their physical and mental security, can greatly facilitate forms of ill-treatment and is likely to irretrievably prejudice the right to a fair trial.
The case is now before the Grand Chamber of the European Court, and oral arguments will be heard on 6 July.
Information on the case can be found on the website of the European Court of Human Rights.