Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the appeal by G. Nerattini against the Greek State (articles 6§2 and 5§3 ECHR)

On December 18, 2008 was issued no. 43529/07 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on the action requested by G. Nerattini, an Italian national against the Hellenic Republic for violating Articles 6§2 and 5§3 of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR).

Specifically, the violation of Article 6§2 of the Convention by the Hellenic Republic concerns the presumption of innocence of the accused. G. Nerattini was arrested in Samos while he was receiving a cannabis packet, and after the search in the applicant’s house, the investigating authorities found and seized a number of Egyptian and Greek antiquities. However, he was charged only for having received a package containing drugs, not with the possession of ancient objects. The applicant, after his six-month custody, applied for release on bail, request that was rejected. Then, despite the many health problems he faced, he was charged with additional categories of antiquities. Thus, according to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, G. Nerattini’s right to the presumption of innocence was breach, as the decision of the Indictment Division of the Samos Criminal Court had presented him as guilty of misappropriation of antiquities, for a crime for which he was not formally accused that period.

Article 5§3 of the Convention concerns the obligation for domestic courts to examine the need to temporarily detain the accused. This specific right of G. Nerattini was also violated by the Hellenic Republic, since the decision of the Indictment Division of the Samos Criminal Court did not adequately justify the relevant and sufficient reasons for his pre-trial detention, and he did not take into account his the advanced age and the poor state of health. So, the Court of Human Rights, considered was that the applicant’s detention on remand was not reasonable or justified.

Consequently, at the same time with the court vindication, the Court of Human Rights awarded Gianni Nerattini a reasonable amount for the non-material damage he suffered as well as the legal costs that the Greek State must pay him for the violations of his legal rights.