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France: Court rejects suspected gangster’s human rights complaint

Human rights judges have rejected a complaint against France from a suspected gangster, who was detained for almost four days before he was seen by an investigating judge.

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Kiril Zlatkov Nikolov v. France (applications nos. 70474/11 and 68038/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:

no violation of Article 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned Kiril Zlatkov Nikolov, a Bulgarian national, who was suspected of having committed an offence related to organised crime, who had to wait almost four days before being brought before an investigating judge, and the failure to record his interrogations.

The court found in particular that the waiting period of three days, 23 hours and 11 minutes after the applicant had been handed over to the French authorities was below the maximum four days established as a general rule in its case-law and that the circumstances of the case, in particular the weather conditions, explained the failure to bring the applicant before the investigating judge more promptly.

Moreover, since the failure to record the applicant’s interrogations had had no major impact on the exercise of his rights in the framework of the criminal proceedings against him, or even, more broadly, on his personal situation, the court held that he had not suffered any “significant disadvantage” within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (b) of the convention and consequently declared inadmissible the complaint under Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Article 6 § 1 of the convention.

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