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11 May 2022

Hello, and welcome to the news and tools delivery from EDJNet.

Today we present a new investigation coordinated by our Spanish partner Civio, which focuses on the high number of European prisoners in pre-trial detention, why there are so many, and why this represents a human rights issue.

Voxeurop and Openpolis are also adding two stories to our large investigation on the EU Trust Fund for Africa, whose funds have been spent more on halting immigration than they were originally intended to do, and not enough on economic and social development of African countries.

Lastly, Alternatives Economiques takes a look at the strategic "railroad war" that is being fought in Ukraine, but not only there.

Let's dig in.

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One in five people in EU prisons are in pre-trial detention

Our new collaborative investigation found that, as of early 2021, one in five people in European prisons (nearly 100.000 inmates) were in pre-trial detention, meaning they are waiting for their trial or the result of an appeal.

  • In France there are almost 18,000 people waiting a final conviction and almost 17,000 in Italy. In the Netherlands almost half of all inmates are in pretrial detention, an overwhelming percentage.
  • High levels of pretrial detention are due to popular pressure and fear that the accused might commit other crimes.
  • Compared to those who end up in prison after long judicial proceedings and have more time to prepare mentally, pretrial detention is a sudden blow. Many inmates spend 23 hours a day in a cell and have minimal communication with the outside, while facing enormous uncertainty.
  • What's more, if the accused is acquitted, settlements often don't even come close to covering the financial and mental damages.
Read the article >

Other stories  

Ukraine: the railroad war

Antoine Pecqueur | Alternatives Economiques

Whether they’re evacuating civilians, transporting troops or exporting goods, Ukrainian railways are on the frontline of resistance against the Russian invasion. Russia and Ukraine, but not just them, are playing a strategic game over rail in Europe.

How was EUTF money used?


As 2021 drew to a close, so too did the EUTF project, a “trust fund for Africa” created by the EU in order to address the causes of illegal immigration. Analysis shows that a large proportion of this funding was dedicated to border externalisation.

Europe is spending billions to fight immigration: to what end?

Francesca Spinelli | Voxeurop

The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was intended to promote stability and fight against “the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons”. Five billion euros have been approved for 250 projects in 26 African countries. But what results has the fund produced? 

These last two articles are part of our data unit on the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

All our articles can be freely republished or reused. Some are available in Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Interested? Write to us!

Our pick


From our partners at the European Data News Hub


Tech vs telecoms: EU ignites debate on ‘net neutrality’

Tech and streaming giants suck up vast amounts of bandwidth, so the EU this week revived a long-standing idea to make them pay the telecom firms who maintain the internet's infrastructure.

WHO warns of obesity ‘epidemic’ in Europe

The WHO has said that "epidemic" rates of those overweight and obese are linked to over 1.2 million deaths annually across Europe, calling for swift policy changes to reverse the dangerous trend.

Tools and Tips

Percentage of prisoners in pre-trial detention in 2020: the dataset

In order to produce the investigation about pre-trial detention, Civio extracted data from the SPACE I 2021 report produced by the Council of Europe. Using the total number of inmates, and the number in preventive detention, as well as the number of suicides among pre-trial and general inmates, they could also calculate the suicide rates per 10,000 inmates.

You can access the dataset here > 

Dataharvest 2022

Will you take part in Dataharvest, the European investigative journalism conference taking place in Mechelen, Belgium, next week? Quite a few EDJNet folks will be there, presenting stories, strategies and tools in a number of sessions. Come by and say hi, we look forward to meeting you! All details can be found on the Dataharvest website.

From the European data journalism community

 Online conference  Cross-Border Local
This one-hour session will present new funding and training opportunities by the Cross-Border Local initiative, designed to strengthen cross border, local investigative journalism across Europe.
👉 It will take place on 18 May at 04:00 PM. More info and registration here.

 Grant  GNI Innovation Challenge
Applications are now open for the first Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge for Europe, which is designed to stimulate innovation for small and medium-sized organisations. Funding is available for projects up to a maximum of €150,000.
👉 The deadline is 31 May. More information here.

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