US Department of State Human Rights Report: Madagascar 2012

"The law provides for a presumption of innocence; however, this was often overlooked. The constitution and law provide defendants with the right to a full defense at every stage of the proceedings, and trials are public. While the law provides that juries can be used in all cases, they were used only in labor disputes. Defendants have the right to be present at their trials, to be informed of the charges against them, to call and confront witnesses, and to present evidence. The government is required to provide counsel for all detainees held on criminal charges who cannot afford their own attorney; however, many citizens were not aware of this right, nor made aware of it by authorities. Defendants who do not request or cannot afford counsel generally are given very little time to prepare their case. Attorneys have access to government-held evidence, but this right does not extend to defendants without attorneys. Legislation outlining defendants’ rights does not specifically refer to the right not to be compelled to testify but includes the right to be assisted by another person during the investigation/trial. Defendants have the right to appeal convictions. Although the law extends them to all citizens without exception, these rights were routinely denied as the de facto government prolonged incarceration of suspects for weeks without charge and continually postponed hearings while denying bail."
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