ECtHR decision in favor of a police officer from the Republic of Moldova: Moral damages of 7,500 euros for unjustified preventive arrest


In July 2017, the applicant was detained, and the Buiucani Court ordered the application of the preventive measure in the form of arrest for a period of 30 days. The court found that there was a reasonable suspicion that the applicant would have committed the charged crime and referred to several documents attached by the prosecutor to the approach regarding the application of preventive detention, but without describing their content. The plaintiff contested this conclusion with an appeal, which the Chisinau Court of Appeal rejected. The Buiucani Court replaced the custodial measure in the form of preventive arrest with house arrest.

Later, the Buiucani Court extended the custodial measure in the form of house arrest applied to the applicant for another 30 days, referring to the same reasonable suspicion mentioned previously. However, on September 20, 2017, the Chisinau Court of Appeal annulled this decision and ordered the applicant’s release.

Invoking Article 5 § 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the applicant complained to the Court about his deprivation of liberty for a period exceeding two months, in the absence of reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime.

Although the Government argued that there was a reasonable suspicion that the applicant had committed the crime of which he was accused, referring, inter alia, to a document signed by the applicant, which he attached to the observations, the Court noted that the decisions of the national courts were not referred to no evidence or witness statements that would demonstrate the existence of a reasonable suspicion that the applicant had solicited and obtained a bribe. The courts referred only to a list of documents attached by the prosecutor to his motion – materials that were not sufficient to convince an independent observer that the applicant could have committed the crime charged.

At the same time, the national decisions did not refer to the document presented by the Government in its observations, which was a copy of an application submitted by the private company to the applicant’s employer, which contained the applicant’s signature and an illegible holographic text, which did not in any way support the claim that the plaintiff had demanded and received a bribe.

Thus, The Court found a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention, because the pre-trial detention of the applicant for a period of more than two months had not been justified by a reasonable suspicion that he would have committed the criminal offence.

The court awarded the plaintiff 7,500 euros for moral damage and 1,012 euros for costs and expenses.

The summary of the decision was made by the Directorate of Governmental Agents within the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova.

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