France rapped for detaining ship's crew in drugs probe
The European Court of Human Rights found France guilty Thursday of wrongly detaining nine seamen aboard their ship for two weeks during a drugs probe.11 July 2008
STRASBOURG - The European Court of Human Rights found France guilty Thursday of wrongly detaining nine seamen aboard their ship for two weeks during a drugs probe, but ruled out financial compensation for them.
The four Romanians, three Chileans, two Ukrainians and a Greek were crew-members of the Winner, a cargo ship flying the Cambodian flag which the French navy boarded off Cape Verde in June 2002 and towed to the French port of Brest.
The crew said they had been the victims of an arbitrary deprivation of liberty for 13 days while their ship was being towed to France and another two or three days in police custody in Brest before being brought before a judge.
The court ruled their deprivation of liberty had not been in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law but had been justified by the "wholly exceptional circumstances" of the case.
It awarded the plaintiffs EUR 5,000 jointly for costs and expenses.
Some 80 kilogrammes of cocaine were found when the Winner was boarded and the Greek captain, Giorgios Boreas, was sentenced last year to 20 years in jail by a French court for drug trafficking.
Chief engineer Symeon Theophanous, a Greek Cypriot, got 17 years and another seaman 12 years.
[AFP / Expatica]