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Selmouni v. France, No. 25803/94, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 28 July 1999


Use of torture in police custody against a double national. Length of criminal proceedings which the applicant joined as a civil party. 

Normative references

Art. 3 ECHR
Art. 6 ECHR


1. The applicant, a Dutch-Moroccan dual national, while held in police custody in connection with a drug-trafficking investigation, was repeatedly assaulted and wounded with a weapon and suffered rape and permanent bodily harm. The Court held that such physical and mental violence, considered as a whole, committed against the applicant’s person had caused “severe” pain and suffering and had been particularly serious and cruel. Such conduct had to be regarded as acts of torture for the purposes of Article 3 of the Convention.

2. The applicant joined a criminal proceeding against police officers as a civil party. At the time of the application filed by the applicant, the proceeding had already lasted more than six years and seven months. The Court held that, regard being had to the seriousness of the alleged facts, the overall length of the proceedings had been excessive.