Investigation during arrest

Various investigative activities may be carried out during the arrest period, but this all has to be done lawfully and respecting your human rights.

Investigative activities

During the period of your arrest, which can be a maximum of 48 hours long, the police or other relevant authorities are allowed to carry out certain investigative activities. For example, they may interrogate you or collect samples such as DNA for testing. You can read more about the investigative activities in the Criminal Procedure Law.

Exceptions

If you are arrested with official status as a suspect or an accused and are waiting to appear before an investigative judge for your detention on remand proceedings, the police must not carry out any investigative activities. They may only interrogate you about circumstances that may be useful for deciding whether to detain you on remand.

Body searches

Body searches are sometimes necessary after your arrest and are, therefore, allowed by law. However, if you are searched, this must be done by a person of the same gender as you. Body searches must not be carried out for the sole purpose of humiliating you.

Investigation & Forceful methods

It is very important to know that the police must not treat you in an inhumane or degrading way, or torture you during these investigative activities. For example, it means that they must not beat you or threaten to beat you to get your confession.  But the police may force you to comply with your duties under the law. For example, you must allow an expert to collect samples such as DNA for testing. If you do not cooperate, the police may obtain these samples forcefully. But, it is important to know that they must not use more force than necessary to obtain these samples.

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment

Mistreatment during the investigation may violate the prohibition on inhumane or degrading treatment, or torture. However, every time you feel humiliated does not necessarily mean that you are being treated in an inhumane or degrading manner. You may feel humiliated simply from being arrested and thus feeling helpless and vulnerable.

The mistreatment has to reach at least a minimum level of severity to result in a human rights violation. When assessing whether you have been treated in an inhumane or degrading way, such criteria as the duration of the mistreatment, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and the condition of your health would be taken into account. For mistreatment to be considered torture, the actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Right to life

If the police use excessive, unnecessary force, which results in the loss of life of the arrestee, it may result in a violation of the right to life. Read more about how to evaluate whether right to life has been violated. 

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education