Friday, 9 August 2013

Fair Trials: New interpretation law must be applied by October 2013

New interpretation law must be applied by October 2013
EU Member States have 2 months to implement a new law guaranteeing suspects the right to translation and interpretation.  From October 2013, suspects who do not speak the language of the proceedings will be guaranteed the right to free interpretation during police proceedings, court hearings, extradition procedures and, in some cases, to help them communicate with their lawyers. Suspects also have the right to the translation of documents essential for them to prepare their defence. A summary of the law is available here.
Although translation and interpretation are an essential part of fair criminal proceedings, Fair Trials International helps hundreds of people each year who are denied this basic right, and who, as a result, find it impossible to build an effective defence. Our client Garry Mann reported that he received extremely poor interpretation during an interrogation in Portugal, meaning he was unable to understand or participate in any of the proceedings. Problems can also arise much later in the case – such as with Gerry Gallant, a Dutch national arrested in Italy, who had spent six months in prison before he finally received a translated version of his official sentence.

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