European Court of Human Rights Goes With the Times: Mangouras v. Spain

Earlier this week, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Mangouras v. Spain. The case concerns the environmental disaster caused when the oil tanker Prestige sank in front of the Galician coast in 2002. Following the disaster, the Greek captain of the ship was detained in Spain. His bail was set at 3 million euros and he was only released after 83 days, when the ship owner’s insurers posted bail. The captain complained about what he considered to be an excessive bail and his case eventually reached Strasbourg, where the Chamber held that art. 5 of the ECHR had not been breached (see Mangouras v. Spain, 8 January 2009). The Grand Chamber has now endorsed that ruling, also finding that under the circumstances the setting of bail of 3 million euros was not exsessive.

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