In 2003 and 2004, the 5 applicants were all arrested on the suspicion to be members of the organization ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna). Within 2 to 4 days of their arrest, they were all suspected by an investigating judge of “membership of a group whose goal is to commit terrorist act” (article 421-2-1 of the penal code) and were ordered to be detained pending investigation.

On January 23th 2007, the investigating judge decided that they were enough evidence against the 5 applicants to go to trial.  The 5 applicants were detained while awaiting trial.

On July 25th 2008, the investigation chamber ordered further detention for 6 months of the 5 applicants. On November 26th and December 2th 2008, the supreme court rejected the appeals of the 5 applicants (08-86233, 08-86234, 08-86230, 08-86235 , 08-86236).

On December 17th 2008, the 5 applicants were condemned respectively to 19 years, 10 years, 17 years, 6 years and 10 years in jail.

On May 25th 2009, the 5 applicants filed each an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that their detention of  up to almost 6 years, pending investigation and while awaiting trial were a violation of article 5-3 of the Convention, that the fact that the 5 applicants chose to exercise their rights to remain silent justified for the French judges to extend their detention was another violation of article 5-3 and that the detention of the 5 applicants in temporary detention  jails (maison d’arret) before and after their trial was a violation of article 8 of the Convention.

On April 21th 2010, the 5 applications (29119/0929101/09, 29116/09, 29095/09, 29109/09) were communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicants are represented by Me Amaia Recarte  (Bayonne) who didn’t return our emails.

On July 1st 2008, Human Rights Watch released a report “Preempting Justice” on investigations and trials on terrorism charges in France. In this report, HRW describes the due process to  order detention pending investigation “Presumption in Favor of Detention” (p27) and made recommendations to the ministry of Justice to “prevent unjustified lengthy pretrial detention” (p79).

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