Pre-trial detention Europe

Did you know that there are three million people being held in detention without trial around the world? Within the European Union alone, there are more than 120,000. That’s one in five people in prison who have not yet been found guilty of a crime.

Of course it is necessary in some cases to detain a person for a certain period of time after arrest, to ensure, for example, that vital evidence is preserved or key witnesses are protected. However, when pre-trial detention is used other than as a last resort, innocent people end up being kept in prison, sometimes for years.

Fair Trials International is a non-governmental organisation that works for fair trials according to internationally recognised standards of justice. In June 2014 Fair Trials set out to collect an evidence base about how pre-trial detention is being used in practice across the EU. The project ‘The Practice of Pre-Trial Detention: Monitoring Alternatives and Judicial Decision-Making’ was conducted in partnership with organisations and academics from ten EU countries and has been funded by the EU Commission.

Now complete, the report brings together the findings, which involved more than 50 participants from 24 EU member states. The full regional report and the summary document are available from the same publications page here.

This short film highlights some of the problems of detention without trial through people’s personal stories.

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© Fair Trials International