The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and other 21 non-governmental organizations that militate for civil rights in Europe have sent an open letter to the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, in which they require the reducing of the period of remand in the EU countries, Mediafax informs. Signatories of the letter call on the European officials to pursue actions aimed at the development of minimal EU standards applicable in all member states when it comes to remand and, if it proves necessary, to develop a legislative proposal in connection to this. The letter mentions the use of alternatives to incarceration and the shortening of the arrest period. “Remand is justified when it is necessary to ensure that justice will be done, that evidence and witnesses are protected and that the suspects will not try to avoid the investigation. Yet, reality shows that the standards of remand are very much different in the EU countries and that they often violate human rights and other international standards”, the letter sent to Commissioner Reding reads. The request was initiated by Fair Trials International, an organization that fights for the rights of the persons prosecuted or imprisoned in other countries than their own. According to studies made by Fair Trials, in the EU, over EUR 5 billion are spent on the incarceration of the people accused of various offences and awaiting trial. Across the EU, people are held in custody awaiting trial, often in terrible conditions, with limited access to a lawyer.