SECOND SECTION

PARTIAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 32768/03 
by Zsigmond Gyula CSÁKY 
against Hungary

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 7 June 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J.-P. Costa, President
 Mr A.B. Baka
 Mr R. Türmen
 Mr K. Jungwiert
 Mr M. Ugrekhelidze
 Ms D. Jočienė, 
 Mr D. Popović, judges
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 21 July 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Zsigmond Gyula Csáky, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1977 and lives in Budapest. He is represented before the Court by his father, Mr I. Csáky.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

On 26 February 2002 criminal proceedings were instituted against the applicant, a college student, on a charge of extortion, which had allegedly been committed on the day before.

On 27 February 2002 numerous objects, including documents and data carriers related to technical inventions developed by the applicant, were seized in his flat. On 25 April 2002 the Budapest Police Department returned these objects to the applicant's sister, who was empowered to deal with the applicant's affairs. It does not appear that a complaint was filed within the eight-day deadline under section 148(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The applicant's ensuing complaints alleging that the set of returned documents was incomplete were dismissed by various authorities as unsubstantiated.

Meanwhile, on 28 February 2002 the Budapest Police Department heard the applicant, explaining that criminal proceedings were being conducted against him since he was accused of having participated in the sequestration and beating of Mr K. and in forcing him to sign a false statement of debt, a conduct punishable under sections 175 and 323 of the Criminal Code. In the ensuing court decisions, the offences referred to in respect of the crime allegedly committed by the applicant included extortion, kidnapping, severe bodily assault and sequestration.

On 2 March 2002 the Pest Central District Court ordered the applicant's pre-trial detention, referring to the danger of his absconding, in particular in view of the fact that he had not been living at his registered address for more than two years. Additional reference was made to the risk of collusion. On 11 March 2002 the Budapest Regional Court dismissed his appeal.

On 22 May 2002 the applicant's parents laid criminal charges against members of the investigating authorities, accusing them of various offences amounting to the abuse of official power, allegedly having been committed in the context of the criminal proceedings conducted against the applicant.

The applicant, assisted by defence counsel of his choice, was initially held at the Gyorskocsi Police Detention Facility. His detention was prolonged on 26 March and confirmed on 30 April 2002, and on 24 May and 12 June 2002. The decision of 24 May contained the following sentence:

“In accordance with the existing results of the investigation, the re-characterisation of the offences committed by the suspects is in progress.”

On 9 August 2002 the Regional Court dismissed his request for release. The decision contained the following sentence:

“... [N]ot even did their decent family circumstances withhold the suspects from committing this violent crime.”

On 29 August 2002 the applicant complained to the Budapest Public Prosecutor's Office that he was not allowed to possess a copy of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which hindered him in preparing his defence.

On 27 September 2002 the applicant's detention was again prolonged, essentially on the ground of a risk of absconding. The court noted that the risk of collusion was diminishing, since the applicant had confessed to his crime.

From October 2002 onwards, the applicant was detained at Budapest Penitentiary.

On 18 December 2002 the applicant's renewed request for release was dismissed by a single judge at the Budapest Regional Court. On appeal, this decision was upheld on 31 December 2002. On 2 January 2003 the second-instance bench of the Regional Court returned a complaint filed by the applicant's father, as under the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure the latter was not entitled to make representations in the case. On 28 January 2003 the second-instance bench upheld this decision.

Meanwhile, a further request for release was dismissed on 17 January 2003.

On 27 February and 26 June 2003 the Supreme Court prolonged the applicant's detention on the basis of the risk of his absconding.

For shorter periods during his detention, the Budapest Penitentiary repeatedly committed the applicant to the Asylum for the Criminally Insane (“IMEI”) with a view to observing his mental status, given his erratic behaviour while in detention. On 24 January 2003 he was permanently placed at IMEI for treatment of his schizophrenia.

On 9 April 2003 the applicant's lawyer laid charges of bodily assault against unknown individuals who had allegedly beaten him up at IMEI. On 11 June 2003 the Budapest X District Police Department discontinued the investigations, since the applicant did not wish to pursue the charges (magánindítvány hiánya).

On 24 July 2003 the Budapest Regional Court ordered the applicant's release on bail. On 11 August 2003 the Budapest Court of Appeal overruled this decision, making reference to the danger of the applicant's absconding.

In response to complaints filed by the applicant's father, on 25 September 2003 the Penitentiary Supervisory Department of the Attorney General's Office reiterated that the applicant had been committed to IMEI on medical grounds, since he had shown psychotic symptoms at the Budapest Penitentiary; that, after examinations, IMEI had given the opinion that his further treatment was necessary; and that a forensic expert had examined him on 26 June and 18 August 2003. It was further noted that it could not be verified whether or not the applicant could benefit from outdoor stays at IMEI, since no appropriate records existed and the walking space available was not fully suitable for the purpose. It was confirmed that, these shortcomings having been remedied, the applicant's right to outdoor stays was guaranteed for the future.

On 17 October 2003 the Regional Court ordered the applicant's pre-trial detention to be effected in the IMEI, since his condition, as established by the forensic expert, warranted psychiatric care.

On 20 October 2003 the investigation was closed. The applicant submits that his request, made when he had been confronted with the victim, to be allowed to undergo an examination by a lie-detector, was denied.

On 28 October 2003 the applicant's detention was again prolonged by the Regional Court.

On 1 December 2003 a bill of indictment was preferred. The applicant was charged with complicity in kidnapping and severe bodily assault, offences punishable under sections 170 and 175/A of the Criminal Code as modified by Act no. 2 of 2003. In the bill of indictment, reference was made to section 2 of the Criminal Code, according to which a criminal offence shall be adjudged according to the law which was in force when the offence was committed; if according to the new criminal law, which is in force when the offence is adjudged, the incriminated conduct is no longer a crime or must be judged less severely, the new law shall be applied, otherwise the new law has no retroactive effect.

On 24 May 2004 the Budapest Regional Court dismissed the applicant's renewed request for release. On 8 July 2004 the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal.

On 16 June 2004 the Budapest Regional Court renewed its decision to order the applicant's psychiatric observation.

The applicant was eventually released from IMEI on 19 October 2004. He was diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia.

The criminal proceedings against the applicant, disjoined from those against his accomplices on 14 April 2003, are pending before the first instance court.

COMPLAINTS

1. The applicant complains under Article 3 of the Convention of the fact that between 24 January and 29 August 2003 he was not entitled to any outdoor stays at IMEI. He also submits that his compulsory psychiatric care, allegedly unjustified, amounted to inhuman treatment, and that he was repeatedly harassed and ill-treated by staff and inmates both at the police detention facility and at IMEI.

2. The applicant complains that the fact that the courts made reference to different offences in regard to his incriminated conduct amounts to a breach of Articles 5 § 2 and 6 § 3 (a).

3. The applicant also complains under Article 5 § 3 that his pre-trial detention lasted unreasonably long.

4. The applicant further complains that the fact that the courts, when deciding on his pre-trial detention, consistently dismissed the defence's arguments and accepted those of the prosecution amounted to the absence of adequate proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention could be decided, in breach of Article 5 § 4.

5. Moreover, the applicant complains that the language used by the courts in their decisions of 24 May and 9 August 2002 amounted to an infringement of the presumption of innocence, contrary to Article 6 § 2.

6. Relying on Article 7 of the Convention, the applicant further complains about the fact that he was indicted for a 2002 offence under section 175/A of the Criminal Code as amended by Act no. 2 of 2003.

7. Relying on Article 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, the applicant further complains that the seizure of his documents and data carriers amounted to a breach of his rights to respect for his home and correspondence and to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.

8. The applicant also complains under Article 13 that his parents' motion to have members of the investigating authorities prosecuted was unsuccessful, and that his father was not authorised to make representations in the case.

9. Furthermore, the applicant complains in general terms about the unfairness of the criminal proceedings against him. He submits in particular that he was deprived of his copy of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prevented him from adequately preparing his defence, and that his request for a lie-detector examination was denied. He relies on Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (b) and (d) of the Convention.

10. Lastly, he complains under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 that, because of his detention, he could not pursue his graduate studies.

THE LAW

1. The applicant complains that between 24 January and 29 August 2003 he was not entitled to any outdoor stay at IMEI – a deprivation amounting to inhuman treatment. He also submits that his committal to a psychiatric institution, which he considers unjustified, was inhuman as such, and that he was ill-treated by staff and inmates both at the police detention facility and at IMEI. He relies on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Court notes the Attorney General's communication of 5 September 2003 stating that it could not be verified whether or not the applicant had benefited from outdoor stays in the impugned period and that, in any event, this matter was resolved for the future. In these circumstances, this complaint is unsubstantiated. In any event, the mere fact that the applicant was not allowed to have outdoor walks for a definite period of time does not in itself attain the minimum level of severity which is necessary to bring Article 3 into play (cf., mutatis mutandis, Lorsé and Others v. the Netherlands, no. 52750/99, §§ 62-63, 4 February 2003).

As regards the applicant's psychiatric treatment, the Court is satisfied with the Attorney General's undisputed statement that it was ordered in pursuit of medical opinions. Furthermore, the Court considers that the applicant cannot complain about the harassment or ill-treatment he allegedly suffered at IMEI, whereas he decided not to pursue the matter before the domestic authorities. Neither of these elements therefore indicates a violation of the applicant's rights under Article 3 of the Convention.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

2. The applicant complains that the fact that the courts, when ordering and prolonging his detention, referred to various offences concerning his incriminated conduct amounts to a breach of Articles 5 § 2 and 6 § 3 (a).

Article 5 § 2 provides:

“Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.”

Article 6 § 3 (a) provides:

“Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a)  to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; ... ”

The Court observes that on 28 February 2002 the Budapest Police Department explained to the applicant that he was charged with having participated in sequestrating and beating Mr K., thereby forcing the latter to sign a statement of debt. In these circumstances, it cannot be argued that the applicant was not properly informed of the reasons for his arrest or of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, notwithstanding the fact that the court decisions maintaining his detention during the investigation referred to various hypotheses of the Criminal Code potentially corresponding to his conduct.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

3. The applicant complains under Article 5 § 3 about the length of his detention on remand, which lasted from 2 March 2002 until 19 October 2004, i.e. more than two years and seven months.

Article 5 § 3 reads as follows:

“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case-file, determine the admissibility of the above complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 3 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this complaint to the respondent Government.

4. The applicant also complains that the courts, when deciding on his pre-trial detention, systematically dismissed his arguments, which amounted to the absence of adequate proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention could be decided, in breach of Article 5 § 4.

“Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”

The Court notes that the applicant's detention was reviewed at statutory intervals by the competent courts and his appeals were examined by the appellate instances. Moreover, his repeated requests for release were, on each occasion, decided on the merits, and the appellate courts responded to his arguments. There is no appearance that any of these proceedings were unfair or the decisions given arbitrary. In these circumstances, the Court is satisfied that the applicant had access to judicial proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention could be decided.

It follows that this part of the application is likewise manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

5. The applicant further complains that the expressions used by the courts in their decisions of 24 May and 9 August 2002 amounted to a breach of the principle of the presumption of innocence, contrary to Article 6 § 2.

The Court notes that the application was lodged on 21 July 2003, i.e. outside the six-month time-limit laid down in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, counted from any of these dates. It follows that this complaint must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

6. Moreover, the applicant complains that the seizure of his documents and data carriers infringed his right to respect for his home and correspondence and the right to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. He relies on Article 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

The Court notes that the seized objects were returned to the applicant's representative by virtue of the order of 25 September 2002. Moreover, even assuming that the applicant has exhausted domestic remedies in this connection, his allegation that some documents were missing is unsubstantiated. It follows that these complaints are manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

7. Furthermore, the applicant complains under Article 13 that his parents' motion to have members of the investigating authorities prosecuted was unsuccessful, and that his father was not authorised to make representations in the case.

The Court notes that the Convention does not guarantee any right to press charges against third parties. Moreover, it does not contain any provision enabling the applicant to complain that his father, ineligible to represent him under the domestic law, was not entitled to make representations in his case. These complaints are therefore incompatible ratione materiae within the provisions of the Convention within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

8. The applicant also complains in general terms that the criminal proceedings against him have been unfair. He submits in particular that the police deprived him of his copy of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibited him from preparing his defence, and that he could not undergo a lie-detector examination. In this connection, he relies on Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (b) and (d) of the Convention. Moreover, he complains under Article 7 that the bill of indictment made reference to section 175/A of the Criminal Code as amended by Act no. 2 of 2003, whereas the crime he was charged with was committed in 2002.

The Court observes that the proceedings against the applicant are currently pending before the first instance court. It follows that these complaints are premature and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

9. Lastly, the applicant complains under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention that he could not pursue his college studies because he was detained on remand.

The Court considers that the applicant's submissions do not raise any issue in regard to his Convention right to education. It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant's complaint concerning the length of the pre-trial detention;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

S. Dollé J.-P. Costa 
 Registrar President

CSÁKY v. HUNGARY DECISION


CSÁKY v. HUNGARY DECISION