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Birutis and Other v. Lithuania, (47698/99) [2002] ECHR 350 (28 March 2002)
 
The text of this case can be found on the European Court of Human Rights' HUDOC database.

Facts: The three applicants, while completing their sentences in the Pravienišk's Prison, were suspected of participating in a riot that took place in the prison. Twenty-one detainees, including the applicants, were accused of causing or taking part in the riot. In establishing the applicants' guilt, the court referred to the statements of anonymous witnesses who were mostly other detainees. These statements had been recorded by the prosecution during the pre-trial investigation.

Allegations: The applicants alleged that they had been deprived of a fair trial and that their defence rights had been breached because they had been convicted on the basis of anonymous evidence.

Holding
: The Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) and that it was not required to rule under Article 41

Reasoning:  The Court found a violation in the third defendant because he had been convicted solely on the basis of anonymous evidence. That ground did not apply to the other two convictions because there was other evidence. The Court also ruled that those two convictions were not based to a decisive extent on anonymous evidence.  It described the anonymous statements as "among the grounds" for the conviction. However, it found a violation of the Convention because the national courts did nothing to examine the manner and circumstances in which the prosecution had obtained the statements.

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