Law Enforcement And Criminal Justice | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság

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People often feel vulnerable to law enforcement agencies. The HHC offers help in this inbalanced power relationship: we provide legal advice, legal representation, regularly monitor places of detention as well as make recommendations to improve people’s capacities to enforce their rights when they come into contact with the police and the prison service. Through our activities, closed institutions become more transparent and citizens’ vulnerability decreases.

In July 2012 the HHC submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a case of a 50-year old truck driver with clear criminal record. In 2011 the driver was assigned to carry some goods from a place to another by truck. The goods were transported and the route of the truck was registered as required by the law. However, the goods disappeared from the depot and the police started an investigation into case.

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The HHC’s client was transferred two times to the Judicial and Observation Psychiatric Institute (IMEI) while being in pre-trial detention, since in the respective penitentiary institution’s view he was dangerous to himself. In the IMEI, he was not examined properly, but was instantly provided with a large amount of extremely strong, out-of-date anti-psychotic medicines instead, thus was heavily sedated.

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The notary of the village Rimóc (Northern Hungary) noticed that petty offence fines for lack of mandatory accessories for bicycles (ring, headlights, reflector prisms) are almost exclusively imposed on Roma people in the area, although the bicycles used by the non-Roma are not significantly better equipped. He notified the Authority and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC).

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The HHC's 28-page long comments on the draft Criminal Code, published in February 2012. Criminal statistics do not warrant increasingly harsh penal policies planned by the government. Legal institutions that breacht the Fundamental Law and international law (e.g. three strikes law, life-long imprisonment without parole) remained in the draft, and it also contains disproportionate sanctions.

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