Alternative report to the un human Rights Committee regarding Norway’s sixth Periodic report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights December 2010



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Pre-trial detention


122-139

Detention of relatives

The conditions of the police arrest may have an especially adverse effect when all or many adult members of the extended family of the presumed main suspects are arrested. During 2007 the Oslo police at least in two cases arrested not only the main suspect, but also parents, brothers, wives, co-habitants, ex-wives and in one case even a mother-in-law. The small children of the families had to be taken care of by others. Since the parents of the children were isolated in police arrest and later in prison for some time, the children were not allowed to speak to their parents. Both families belonged to the immigrant communities.

In one of the cases the presumed main suspect was told by the police that he could contribute to have the other members of the family released if he gave statements to the police.22 He was so concerned to have the others released that he confessed to all that the police proposed to him, inter alia that a package confiscated in his working place (a restaurant) contained cocaine. Just after the confession his parents and brother were released. It turned out that the package did not contain any cocaine. Oslo City Court accepted to detain his cohabitant because the judge trusted the information given by the police that the package “presumably” contained cocaine, although the police could have found this out before the court hearing and before arresting the other family members and interrogating the main suspect.

 Many of the cases regarding the parents, the brother, the co-habitant, ex-wives and mother-in-law have been finalized by acquittal or dismissal.

In relation to human rights, the practise of detaining the whole extended family is of special concern. Firstly, the basis to detain the other family members is not so thoroughly looked into by the police and the court, when the charge against the main suspect is serious. Secondly, the detention of the other family members is felt by the main suspect as a pressure to give certain statements, especially knowing that the other family members are held in the same conditions in police arrest as described above. Thirdly, these actions may have detrimental effects to minor children, who are separated completely from their parents for some time.



Recommendations to Norway:

-It should not be allowed to arrest the whole extended family, unless the charges against each of the other family members are individually and thoroughly examined both by the police and the court. Under no circumstances should the main suspect be interrogated while he or the other family members do not have ordinary prison conditions.

ICCPR Art.

Subject

State Report para.

Keyword

7 (9)

Promptly before a judge


127-129

Availability of statistics / Monitoring / Time limits

The time limit within which arrested persons are to be brought before a judge (section 183 of the Criminal Procedure Act) has been extended to 72 hours. The intention was to reduce the total use of detention. The amendment came into force 1 July 2006.

 We have tried to obtain official statistics on the use of detention after 1 July 2006, but it has not been possible. Informal information suggests that the total use of detention has increased a little from the year before 1 July 2006 to the year after. This trend is the opposite of what was intended, and the amendment should therefore be reconsidered.



Recommendations to Norway:

  • The time limit should be reduced to a maximum of 48 hours.

  • For children the time limit should be no longer than 24 hours.



ICCPR Art.

Subject

State Report para.

Keyword

7 (9)

Imprisonment of foreign nationals


141-148

Duration / Administraive Decision / Legal Grounds
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