The justice ministry said on Friday April 3 that the number of people detained in prisons fell by 6,266 between March 16 and 1er April. But those who are presumed innocent because they have not yet been tried are not about to leave.
The Council of State made the same day in interim proceedings a decision which caused a great stir by validating one of the most contested measures taken by the government within the framework of the orders of the state of health emergency: the full extension right and without debate on provisional detentions.
“It is the first time since the Suspects Law of 1793 that people have been ordered to remain in prison without the intervention of a judge”, denounces Louis Boré, president of the bar association at the Council of State and at the Court of Cassation. He defended the appeal filed by the National Council of Bars, the Conference of Bâtonniers and the Bâtonnier of Paris.
Limiting detainee extractions
The order of March 25 amending the criminal procedure adapts its provisions to confinement which requires judges and all citizens to stay at home, except in emergencies. To limit hearings in courts and tribunals and the extractions of detainees to attend them on the one hand, and limit the risk of cancellation of procedures or of release of people considered as dangerous or likely to put pressure on witnesses, fault, for the courts, to have been able to hold a hearing within the time limits on the other hand, article 16 of the order extends by two or three months, depending on the case, the maximum duration of the provisional detentions ordered during judicial information on crimes. The additional time is six months for criminal proceedings. The circular of the Keeper of the Seals, Nicole Belloubet, issued on March 26 in application of this ordinance, specifies that“It is not necessary that extensions be ordered by the competent court to extend the current detention.”
The lawyers are unanimous in denouncing these measures. The highest administrative court has also been seized by the Association of Criminal Lawyers, the Union of Young Lawyers, the Syndicat des Avocats de France. They were joined by the Magistrates Union, the Human Rights League and the International Prison Observatory.
“In ordinary times, this case would have come to the hearing,” said Louis Boré, president of the bar association at the Council of State and the Court of Cassation.