Romania: Former mayor awaits court judgement

A former mayor of Cluj-Napoc Sorin Apostu, will find out tomorrow if Strasbourg judges accept his claim that Romanian authorities breached his human rights.

The European Court of Human Rights will announce its decision in the case Apostu v. Romania (no. 22765/12) on 3 February.

The applicant, Sorin Apostu’s case concerns his complaint about the conditions of his pre-trial detention on suspicion of corruption and allegation that parts of the prosecution file against him were leaked to the media.

In November 2011, Apostu was summoned by the prosecuting authorities who had launched a criminal investigation against him, his wife and three businessmen on suspicion of corruption and placed in pre-trial detention.

The investigation against Apostu was subsequently extended to trading in influence, complicity in and incitement to forgery. The criminal proceedings against him are apparently still pending.

Apostu’s pre-trial detention has been regularly extended by the courts and his requests for release dismissed on account of the nature and severity of the corruption-related offences of which he stands accused, as well as the risk that, if released, he might obstruct the course of justice by intimidating witnesses.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Apostu complains about the conditions of his detention in Cluj police station detention facility between November 2011 and January 2012 and in Gherla and Rahova prisons in various short periods from January to March 2012.

He notably alleges overcrowding, inadequate heating, lighting and hygiene.

Apostu also complains about the conditions in which he was transported from Gherla Prison to Rahova Prison on 12 January 2012.

Also relying on Article 5 § 4 (right to have lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court), he complains that he was unable to confer in private with his lawyer in Gherla Prison on account of a glass partition dividing them during their meetings.

Lastly, under Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, the home and the correspondence), he alleges that excerpts from the prosecution file against him – in particular his private telephone conversations intercepted by the authorities’ telephone tapping – were leaked to the media and then published in November and December 2011.

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