Réti and Fizli v. Hungary | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság

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TAX NUMBER: 19013983-1-42

The HHC’s attorney represented applicants Mr. Réti and Mrs. Fizli before the European Court of Human Rights in relation to their ill-treatment by the police (Application no. 31373/11). The applicants were ill-treated by the police in October 2006 after having been stopped for an identity check while riding a motorbike in Budapest. In particular, a police officer had hit Mr. Réti repeatedly, handcuffed him and forced him to the ground; another officer had later forced his truncheon against Mr. Réti’s neck, causing him to lose consciousness; and an officer had pushed Mrs. Fizli in the chest and banged her head against the ground. The applicants filed a criminal report for ill‑treatment in official proceedings, but the investigation was terminated by the Hungarian authorities, essentially with regard to the inconclusive medical evidence. The applicants’ complaint against the discontinuation of the investigation was dismissed. The applicants, acting as substitute private prosecutors, filed a motion with the respective court. However, the court acquitted the accused police officers, observing inter alia that the medical evidence was inconclusive.

The ECtHR concluded that the Hungarian Government has not furnished any convincing or credible arguments which would provide a basis to explain or justify the degree of force used during the operation. In particular, it has not been clarified what particular conduct on the applicants’ side warranted a reaction in the course of which Mr. Réti suffered numerous haematomas, contusions and a commotion, and Mrs. Fizli sustained several haematomas and contusions as well. Since the Government has not shown the contrary, the ECtHR could not but conclude that, even assuming that the situation objectively required the use of force, the extent to which it was applied was excessive. The ECtHR also found that there had been no sufficiently adequate investigation into the applicants’ allegations, capable of leading to the identification of the alleged perpetrators.

For this the ECtHR concluded in its judgment delivered on 25 September 2012 that the applicants had been subjected to degrading treatment and that no adequate investigation has been carried out into their allegations. There has, accordingly, been a breach of Article 3 of the Convention. The applicants were both awarded a just satisfaction of EUR 5,000.

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