Get help: Detention

detention, detention for a petty offense, petty offence custody or pre-trial detention

What kind of cases can we help with?

We provide legal assistance in the below listed areas. We can only provide legal representation in a limited number of cases, depending on our capacity.

  • Complaint about detention

    We can help you if you are detained and your rights have been violated by the detaining institution. This may be the case if for example:
    ● you have been ill-treated by prison staff;
    ● you have been ill-treated by another detainee but the prison has failed to fulfil its duties and has not acted on your complaint (for example you have been ill-treated by someone you should not have been with in the same cell; or the prison has not reported your case after you made a complaint about ill-treatment);
    ● you have been prevented from contacting your relatives, friends or a lawyer within the permitted time; or
    ● you were not taken to your relative’s funeral, even although you requested it.

    We can also help in the above cases if you are a relative or acquaintance of the detainee.

  • Complaint about petty offense detention or custody

    We can help you if, due to a petty offense:
    ● you have been taken into custody and detained for a maximum of 72 hours, and you are under the age of 18; or
    ● if you have been detained or imprisoned for an offense despite the fact that you are:
    ○ a disabled person;
    ○ lying in hospital;
    ○ at least 12 weeks pregnant;
    ○ raising a child under the age of 14 alone; or
    ○ you are caring for a relative that is disabled or in need of continuous care by yourself.

    We can also help in the above cases if it concerns your relative or acquaintance.

    You can read more about the infringement procedure on szabalysertes.hu. You will also find downloadable forms on this page if you would like to submit an application (appeal, etc.) to start such a procedure.

  • Complaint concerning pre-trial detention

    We can help if your arrest is against the law because:
    ● there is no proper legal reason for it; or
    ● it has lasted too long, at least a year.

    In this case, we can help bring your case before the European Court of Human Rights. However, this does not mean that you will be released immediately nor will the criminal proceedings against you be stopped.

    We can also help if your relative or acquaintance has been unlawfully held in pre-trial detention.


HOW CAN WE HELP?

If you write to us, we must first review the documents. We will respond within 90 days. We will respond even if we cannot help you.

We can usually give you legal advice. This means telling or writing what legal options are available to you (who you can turn to, what procedure you should initiate, etc.). However, we cannot write submissions for you or represent you in court.

Our lawyers will only represent you in court in exceptional cases. An exceptional case is for example a case that is strategically important, or if the violation is very serious (for example, if you have been ill-treated by prison staff).

Based on our professional judgment, we decide who and exactly how we will help.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

We are generally unable to assist you to prove your innocence in criminal proceedings. This is the responsibility of your chosen authorised lawyer or assigned lawyer.

Nor can we assist in filing a request for review and renewal of the case, or in matters relating to merging the sentences. In this case, contact your chosen authorised lawyer or assigned lawyer or seek free legal assistance from the legal aid service of the county government office where you live.

Where can you go if we can’t help? We have gathered the authorities and NGOs you can turn to for help in Hungary.

HOW CAN YOU CONTACT US?

Click the ‘I need help’ button below and fill out the form that appears.

Once you have completed the form, send us all the documents related to the case: not only your own submissions, but also decisions, judgments, orders, expert opinions, results of medical examinations, etc. made by the authorities or courts.

You can send the documents by:

  • Email to helsinki@helsinki.hu; or
  • post to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 1242 Budapest, Pf. 317. Please send photocopied documents! If you do not have the opportunity to photocopy, then send the originals and we will photocopy them and send them back to you by post.

Before asking for help, please carefully read exactly what we are able to help with. If one of the examples describes your case, please write to us by clicking on the ‘I need help’ button at the bottom of the page.

Please do not come to our office without an appointment! If you show up without an appointment, we will not be able to meet with you.

If the ‘I need help’ button does not work or you have any other questions, please contact us by:

  • Email: helsinki@helsinki.hu
  • Post: Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 1242 Budapest, Pf. 317.
  • Tel: (+36 1) 321 4323, (+36 1) 321 4327, or (+36 1) 321 4141 during the following times:
    • Tuesday between 10:00-14:00
    • Thursday between 14:00-17:30

Confidentiality

The information you provide will only be shared within the Hungarian Helsinki Committee for professional consultation reasons. We do not share this information with anyone else. To learn more, read our Privacy Notice.



Sumbit a form to request our helpDetention

Hungarian Helsinki Committee