Showing posts with label Pretrial detention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pretrial detention. Show all posts

13 April 2012

Juvenile accused are out on bail!

After two years in custody, the three under-age defendants have today been finally released on bail – a step that was long overdue. While most German juvenile accused are usually released after a few months, these three have been detained since Easter, 2010.  Until now, the court had rejected all applications for a release on bail, despite the fact that a youth facility has been available for some time and despite a very positive report from the prison management.

The three are now in a youth facility where they have enjoyed their first day of freedom. We are asking the media to respect their wish for privacy.

The trial will continue on Monday, 16 April. The next trial date after that is Wednesday, 18 April (additional date).

25 December 2011

Press release

In a press release, the One World Network, No One is Illegal and the Third World Harbour Group Hamburg raise the question of whether the court is actually conducting an unbiased trial. The statement raises issues that we have been raising on this blog: the court has not heard a single witness for the defence, even after the defence lawyers have tracked down witnesses in Somalia on their own, the offer of accommodation in a youth facility has been rejected, using far-fetched reasons and the fact that one of the under-age defendants was assaulted in prison and had not been seen by a doctor until the following day in court. The groups suggest that the purpose of the trial could be to justify the expenses of the ATALANTA mission.

12 December 2011

12 December 2011 - Youth prisoner assaulted

Today, there were no regular proceedings in court. One of the under-age defendants told the court that he had been assaulted by another prisoner and that he was unable to sit through court. The court's own medical service examined him and found that there was risk of a concussion and had him admitted to hospital. 
The final court date for the year is Wednesday, 21 December.

10 November 2011

One year of “Piracy Trial”: release the juvenile defendants!

Press Release 10 November 2011
One year of “Piracy Trial”: release the juvenile defendants!

Observers of the trial in Hamburg of the ten alleged pirates reiterate their demand for the immediate release of the three juvenile defendants who are still held in custody in Hamburg's youth prison, 'Hahnöversand'. Among the groups observing the trial are No One Is Illegal, the Third World Harbour Group and the One-World Network.

The Commissioner of the European Council for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has repeatedly stated that juvenile defendants in detention are frequently denied access to education and are exposed to violence and abuse. It has also been proven that detention has negative psychological effects which increase the longer the detention lasts.

For the last 18 months, ten Somali have been remanded in custody. They are accused of  having attacked the container vessel MV Taipan. Three of the accused are minors. The trial started almost a year ago, on November 21, 2010. Since then, the accused have spent over 50 days in court. The defence has pointed out that there is no flight risk, that the defendants would oblige with bail conditions and that they would not abscond. Neither the prospect of a long sentence nor the expected uncertain legal status after the sentence would entice the accused to return to Somalia. Somalia is at war and some of the accused have lost contact with their families who had to flee their homes.

All applications to have the juvenile defendants released on bail have been declined. Instead, the court has reacted by ignoring birth certificates and letting a forensic scientist determine their age, and by exaggerating the charges. Last week the prosecution tried to have the case closed, ignoring the requirement to hear the Youth Aid and the juvenile defendants' guardians.

Some of the defence lawyers, together with observers, criticise – among a number of other aspects – the fact that the juvenile defendants are being held in custody for much longer than their German equivalents would be. “Also, they are refused the education they are entitled to according to the youth laws,” said Michaela Goedecke of the group No One Is Illegal in Hamburg. They should be accommodated in accordance with their age.

The trial observers are asking why the juvenile defendants continue to be held in custody. Is it because the court wants to set an example – a practice not allowed in law, and which is also scientifically proven to not to work? Or are the reasons of a racist nature? Or is there an unspoken desire to legitimize the German military operations in the Horn of Africa?

Next trial date: Monday, 14 November 2011,  10 am.

07 October 2011

A report the court in Hamburg should read

A report the court in Hamburg should read, while keeping three minors in pretrial detention for 18 months.

The socioeconomic impact of pretrial detention
Open Society Justice Initiative, 2011

The goal of this paper is to focus on an important and underappreciated issue and assist countries and  governments to better understand it and more effectively design policy responses to it. Although this paper makes reference to specific situations and countries, it is important to note that excessive pretrial detention is a global issue affecting developing and developed countries alike. 

International Juvenile Justice Observatory 
Download the report from here