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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - press release - Justice: when the State exploits the health crisis to consolidate its security policy (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 27 Mar 2020 09:55:41 +0300

As in all sectors, the epidemic took hold of the judiciary. Health standards in courts, police stations and places of deprivation of liberties (prisons, administrative detention centers, psychiatric hospitals) already deplorable for decades, accentuate the spread and the consequences of this virus. ---- itigation ---- The hasty closure of the courts on Monday, March 16, 2020 suspended all litigation, with the exception of some such as those whose maintenance does not meet a health requirement, but only for the purpose of repression. Thus, litigation is not suspended for persons provisionally detained pending their trial (adults and minors). ---- Likewise, to ensure that the provisional detention times are respected, appearances continue, even during the period of confinement. This could be made worse since the emergency law provides for longer pretrial detention periods. Instead of placing presumed innocent people under judicial control, the state therefore chooses to lock them up longer.

The law of undocumented migrants
Another aspect of the justice system which continues to operate is that of litigation concerning the removal of undocumented migrants and their deprivation of liberty. If certain prefectures of France had the detention centers evacuated to avoid epidemics, it was mainly under pressure from the police who refused to work under these conditions.

Administrative detention should only have the objective of removing it from the territory, something made impossible by the closure of the borders. Detention, even if it is still requested by judges, is therefore completely unjustified.

Here again, the measures taken in the health context infringe the rights of these people since the hearings are no longer public and the use of video-hearing, even telephone hearings (Court of Appeal of Montpellier) is becoming widespread. However, it would suffice, with a view to protecting the population, to put an end to detention ...

The impact of the measures taken on places of deprivation of liberty
"Health" measures degrade living conditions. Thus, in prison, walks and visits were suspended. In psychiatric hospitals, people hospitalized under constraints if they are even more limited in their movements also pay for the reduction in the number of nursing staff which implies resorting to more degrading treatments. We are concerned about the psychological and physical repercussions and see only one health solution: amnesty for people in pre-trial detention, at the end of their sentence or sentenced to short terms.

The exceptional measures taken in judicial matters are much more repressive than sanitary measures. These are political, not health, or even legally justified choices. Emptying detention centers, pardoning prisoners, ceasing to implement procedures involving deprivation of liberty, providing the courts, prisons and police stations with protective medical equipment would be essential health measures to contain the epidemic.

Instead, the government chooses to continue filling crowded prisons, further destroying the rights of the defense.

Union Communiste Libertaire, March 23, 2020

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