Andrey Lavrov v. Russia (no. 66252/14) – health / access to care / interim measures / effective remedy. The applicant alleged that the had been unable to obtain effective medical care while in detention (violation of Article 3). He also submitted that the Russian authorities had failed to comply with the interim measure ordering an independent medical examination of his situation (violation of Article 34).Ciorap v. The Republic of Moldova, no.5 (no. 7232/07) – ill-treatment / health / effective investigation. The applicant, a mentally-ill prisoner, complained that he had been ill-treated in detention and that the investigation into his allegation of ill-treatment had been ineffective (violation of Article 3).
Savca v. The Republic of Moldova (no. 17963/08) – material conditions of detention / overcrowding / systemic problem. The applicant complained inter alia of his conditions of detention in Chişinău Prison (violation of Article 3).
Rebegea v. Romania (no. 77444/13) – material conditions of detention / overcrowding / sanitary conditions / food / systemic problem. The applicant complained about the material conditions of his detention in Mărgineni Prison, and notably about overcrowding, insufficient lighting, poor food and lack of heating system (violation of Article 3).
Vidish v. Russia (no. 53120/08) – material conditions of detention / overcrowding / health / correspondence / letters / visits. The applicant complained about his appalling conditions of detention (violation of Article 3). He also complained that the authorities had monitored his correspondence with the Court and that they had prevented his daughter from visiting him following their introducing of a visiting fee (violation of Article 8).
Zakshevskiy v. Ukraine (no. 7193/04) – material conditions of detention / overcrowding / possibility of movement / handcuffs. The applicant complained inter alia that his conditions of pre-trial detention had been poor and that he had been handcuffed whenever he left his cell (violation of Article 3).
Butrin v. Russia (no. 16179/14) – overcrowding / disability / effective remedy / sentence adjustment. The applicant alleged that, in view of his disability, his detention had been inhuman and degrading (violation of Article 3) and that he did not have an effective remedy for his grievances (violation of Article 13).
Kolesnikovich v. Russia (no. 44694/13) / Litvinov v. Russia (no. 32863/13) – health / access to care / effective remedy. Both cases concerned allegations of lack of medical care in detention (violation of Article 3 for Kolesnikovich ; no violation of Article 3 for Litvinov), and the absence of an effective remedy in this respect (violation of Article 13).
Kars and Others v. Turkey (no. 66568/09) – right to life / ill-treatment / hunger strike. The 22 applicants alleged an excessive and disproportionate use of force by the authorities during an operation conducted on account of hunger strikes begun by the prisoners (violation of Article 2 in respect of 4 applicants ; violation of Article 3 in respect of 5 applicants).
[GC] Blokhin v. Russia (no. 47152/06) – juvenile detention / disability / health / access to care / legal assistance. The case concerned the detention for 30 days of a 12-year old boy who was suffering from a mental and neurobehavioural disorder (violation of Article 3; violation of Article 5§1 ; violation of Article 6).
Korneykova and Korneykov v. Ukraine (no. 56660/12) – pregnancy / material conditions of detention / food / sanitary conditions / shackles. The applicant, a pregnant detainee, alleged that she had been shackled in the maternity hospital where she had given birth, and she and her newborn son had subsequently been held in very poor conditions without adequate medical care (violation of Article 3). She also alleged that she had been placed in a metal cage during court hearings (violation of Article 3).
Zherebin v. Russia (no. 51445/09) – pre-trial detention / structural problem. The applicant complained that he had been detained pending trial notwithstanding the absence of relevant and sufficient reasons. The Court considered that this case is not isolated but originates from a structural problem (violation of Article 5§3 )
Okolisan v. The Republic of Moldova (no. 33200/11) – material conditions of detention / overcrowding / hygiene / effective remedy / systemic problem. The applicant complained that he had been detained in inhuman conditions (violation of Article 3), and that he did not have an effective remedy available in this respect (violation of Article 13).
1 March 2016
Relying on article 3, the applicant alleged that he had been unable to obtain effective medical care while in detention. Relying on Article 34 he also submitted that the Russian authorities had failed to comply with the interim measure ordering an independent medical examination of his situation.
Complaint under Article 34
In a letter sent on 16 October 2014 the Court indicated to the Russian Government “that the applicant should be immediately examined by medical experts independent from the penal system” (§35). In their letter of 7 November 2014, the Government insisted that they had fully complied with the interim measure and submitted two medical reports. However the Court noticed that the reports submitted had “no relevance to the implementation of the interim measure” to the extent that “at no point during the examinations did the doctors […] assess the applicant’s state of health […] or evaluate whether his illness, given its current manifestation, nature and duration, required his transfer to a specialized hospital” (§38). The Court therefore concluded that the State had failed “to comply with the interim measure indicated by it” in breach of Article 34 (§40).
Complaint under Article 3
The applicant mainly complained that he did not receive vital chemo- and radiotherapy for his illness. The Court first observed that it had examined a large number of cases against Russia raising complaints of inadequate medical services afforded to inmates (§58) and had concluded on numerous occasions that there was no effective remedy to air those complaints (see also §46 and Dirdizov v. Russia, §§80-90). Against this backdrop, the Court considered it had “to undertake the role of a court of first instance and [perform] a first-hand evaluation of the [mutually contradictory] evidence before it” (§58). The Court went on to note that the applicant had submitted sufficient prima facie evidence (medical reports and certificates) in favour of his submission, and therefore that the burden of proof should shift to the respondent Government (§59). The Court then declared that it could draw inferences from the violation of Article 34 established hereabove. It further estimated that the evidence submitted by the Russian Government was “unconvincing and insufficient to rebut the applicant’s account of the treatment to which he was subjected in detention” (§60). The Court notably raised the decision of the Chelyabinsk Regional court dated November 2014 authorising “the applicant’s release, given the prison authorities’ inability to provide adequate treatment for him” (§60). The Court lastly expressed its concern with “the finding of the lower-instance court, which despite clear evidence to the contrary […] concluded that the applicant had been provided with proper medical care”; and with the fact that prison authorities prepared a document dated October 2014 stating that the applicant refused to submit to its treatment, whereas just a few days before that document was prepared a doctor had confirmed “in open court that the same authorities were unable to treat the applicant” (§61). The Court therefore concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3
15 March 2016
The applicant, a mentally-ill prisoner, complained that he had been ill-treated in detention and that the investigation into his allegation of ill-treatment had been ineffective.
The applicant was serving a sentence in a cell reserved for the medical treatment of detainees with mental problems when a search was ordered in this cell – and performed by masked men. Immediately after this search, the applicant complained that he had been injured by the guards who performed the search. The Court declared that “since the injury appeared while the applicant was detained in prison, and since his allegation is supported by the statements of a number of witnesses, including prison staff and medical personnel, and by forensic reports in the file”, it was bound to conclude that “it was the result of treatment during the search” (§47). Moreover, since the applicant’s injury required urgent medical assistance at a hospital, it attained “a minimum level of severity so as to fall within the scope of Article 3” (§47). As a result, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3.
The Court added that “the manner in which the search […] was conducted raises a separated issue under” the above-mentioned provision because of the particular vulnerability of the inmates kept in this special cell. Not only the impugned search had exceptionally taken place without the presence of a doctor, but it resulted in the degradation of the detainees’ food and belongings. Considering that the quantity and quality of food of this very prison were found on numerous occasion “substandard” (§51, see also Ciorap v. the Republic of Moldova, no.3, §36), and that “a prison cell is the place where a detainee spends a significant amount of his time”, that was “even more degrading to the applicant” (§51). In view of the foregoing, the Court found a violation of Article 3.
The Court observed that despite the fact that the authorities were aware of the applicant’s allegation of ill-treatment on the day it was made, there was no immediate response to these allegations – it was only more than a month later that a criminal investigation was initiated. This delay, the Court went on to note, “given how crucial the first days are for establishing the existence and nature of any injury before the passage of time heals it […] is incompatible with the procedural obligations under Article 3” (§62). The Court also noted that a forensic examination aiming at determining the causes of the injury was not carried out until a month after the event without any explanation (§63). Moreover, the authorities did not interview the masked men who had been accused of ill-treating the applicant. Lastly, the Court observed that whereas there was controversy as to the contents and integrity of the video material filmedby an officer during the event, “it is unclear why the investigator did not ask for the original video cassette, but contended himself with viewing whatever part of the video had been submitted to him on a compact disk” (§66). In view of the above, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3.
The applicant complained inter alia of his conditions of detention in Prison no.13 in Chişinău. The Court observed that “poor conditions of detention in this particular detention facility were found to prevail in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010” (§36) by the UN Special Rapporteur and by the Moldovan Ombudsperson. The Court further noted that “the Governed adduced no evidence in support of their submission that considerable improvements in Prison no. 13 had taken place during recent years” (§36). As a result the Court considered there was no reason to depart from the conclusions reached in previous judgments regarding this facility (§36, see i.a.Hadji v. Moldova, §20). The Court therefore declared there had been a violation of Article 3. The Court called upon the authorities to “take appropriate measures in order to put an end to what seems to be a systemic problem” (§37).
Relying in particular on Article 3 the applicant complained about the material conditions of his detention in Mărgineni Prison – and notably about overcrowding, insufficient lighting, poor food and lack of heating system.
The Court first-of-all recalled that it had found that overcrowding and poor hygiene conditions in Romanian prisons is a systemic problem (§37, see Iacov Stanciu v. Romania, §195), and that it had concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3 on account of overcrowding in this very prison and during the period in which the applicant was detained (§37, see Necula v. Romania, §§57 and 59). The Government did not dispute these findings. The Court further noted that the applicant’s allegations concerning lack of adequate heating system and poor food reflect the APADOR-CH’s 2013 report findings (§38). Accordingly, the Court considered that the applicant’s detention caused to him a suffering that went beyond that inevitably connected with his lawful detention and concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3.
The applicant complained about his appalling conditions of detention. He also complained the authorities had monitored his correspondence with the Court and that they had prevented his daughter from visiting him following their introducing a visiting fee – which he could not afford to pay.
Complaint under Article 3
The Court observed that “according the floor plans and ward population register provided by the Government, the applicant had between 2.7 sq. m. and 3.7 sq. m. of personal space during his detention” (§28). More precisely, the Court went on to note that the applicant spent more than eight months in a cell where he had only 2.7 sq. m. of floor space at his disposal. What is more, the Court noted that these appalling conditions of detention concern a medical facility designed for convicts in poor health – and often suffering from communicable diseases. The Court therefore declared that “the fact that [the applicant] had to share overcrowded wards for more than ten months with a large number of sick and occasionally infested inmates with minimal distance separating their sleeping places is a further indication of degrading treatment exceeding the minimum threshold of severity under Article 3” (§29). Lastly the Court observed that the applicant’s situation “was exacerbated by restricted access to daylight” (§30). In view of the above, the Court found a violation of Article 3.
Complaint under Article 8
Regarding restriction on family visits, the Court observed that “what is at stake […] is a further financial restriction making the exercise of the applicant’s statutory right to a long-term family visit conditional on his ability to pay for it”. As a matter of fact, the applicant’s daughter’s visit was cut short from three days to just one because neither of them could afford the recently introduced fee for family visits. The Court noted that “the Ministry-approved Internal Regulations of Correctional Facilities allow for charging prisoners or their family members only for ‘additional services’ during family visits” (§37). Since neither the applicant nor his daughter requested any special visiting arrangements or additional equipment for the visiting room, the restriction in question had been an unauthorized initiative. Accordingly, the Court considered that the interference could not be regarded as “prescribed by law” and declared that there had been a violation of Article 8.
Regarding the opening of the applicant’s correspondence with the Court, the Court observed that it was in breach of Russian domestic law (§46). Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 8.
17 March 2016
The applicant complained inter alia that his conditions of pre-trial detention had been poor and that he had been handcuffed whenever he had left his cell, including during family visits and daily walks.
Regarding the applicants material conditions of detention, the Court first noted that “the available evidence indicates that […] the applicant lacked personal space” (§64) since he had less than three sq. m. given the cell’s surface and the fact that it “also contained sanitary facilities, furniture and fittings (§66). The Court further noted that “the applicant and his cellmates had no freedom of movement and were confined to their cell for most of the day” (§67). As a result, the Court found that “the conditions of the applicant’s detention […], in particular the lack of personal space afforded […] combined with the lack of access to outdoor activities for almost three months of his detention” amounted to a violation of Article 3.
Regarding the applicant’s handcuffing the Court first noted that Ukrainian law appears to “allow the authorities to use the impugned measure of restraint on all male life prisoners, without giving consideration to their personal situation and the individual risk they might or might represent” (§77), which “could give rise to problems pursuant to Article 3 of the Convention” (§77, see alsoKaverzin v. Ukraine, §§150-163). However, the Court considered that “neither in his initial submission nor in his observations in response to those of the Government did the applicant provide any details concerning the contested measure” and therefore he “did not demonstrate the nature and extent of the suffering and humiliation caused to him by the restriction complained of and failed to substantiate whether that suffering went beyond that inevitably connected with his lawful detention” (§75). Given the generality of the applicant’s complaint, the Court considered that this part of the applicant had to be rejected as manifestly ill-founded.
22 March 2016
Relying on Article 3 and Article 13, the applicant alleged that, in view of his disability, his detention was inhuman and degrading and that he did not have an effective remedy for his grievances
Complaint under Article 13
Regarding Article 13, the Court found that “the respondent State had an obligation to ensure that an effective remedy was available to deal with the substance of [the applicant’s] complaint” but that “the legal avenues put forward by the Government did not constitute an effective remedy that could have been used to prevent the alleged violations or their continuation and provide the applicant with adequate and sufficient redress for his complaints under Article 3 of the Convention” (§44). Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 13 (§45).
Complaint under Article 3
The applicant submitted that the conditions of his detention were unsuitable for him because he was blind, and the cells in which he had been held were overcrowded. The Court considered that “the fact that a disabled detainee was afforded less than three square metres of personal space causes concern as to whether the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention were complied with” (§58). Moreover, the Court, noting that an inmate had been assigned to assist the applicant (to move about and take showers) but that after this inmate’s release in September 2014, the applicant had been left to fend for himself, declared that it “is particularly concerned about the poor quality of the assistance provided by the inmate assigned to help the blind applicant with his everyday needs” (§63). Lastly, the Court was “particularly concerned that despite the existing legal provision and the conclusion by the medical commission explicitly calling for the applicant’s release on health grounds, the applicant still remains in detention without any measures having been taken by the Russian authorities to alleviate the suffering he has already had to endure on a daily basis for a number of years” (§65). Therefore, the Court found that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
Both cases concerned allegations of inadequate medical care in detention. The applicants are both currently serving sentences in correctional colonies. Both men had histories of illness before their arrests. Mr Kolesnikovich alleged that his health had deteriorated in detention, in particular because of the failure to provide him with the medication he had been prescribed with for treating his illnesses, it being left to his mother to send the drugs recommended by doctors. Mr Litvinov also alleged that on several occasions he had not been given some of the drugs prescribed to him. He further complained that his first prescribed coronary angiography examination had been significantly delayed, as had been his recommended heart surgery, the installation of a coronary stent eventually being installed in January 2014. Moreover, he claimed that his frequent transfers between medical and detention facilities had run counter to doctors’ recommendations. Mr Kolesnikovich filed a complaint against the prison administration concerning his medical care in detention, which was dismissed by the courts in October 2013. Mr Litvinov’s wife complained in April 2013 to various authorities of the failure to properly diagnose and treat her husband; she received no response.
In the case Kolesnikovich, the Court considered that there had been “shortcomings in the treatment of the applicant’s ulcer” that “show that the authorities failed to ensure prompt and effective medical care that involved a comprehensive therapeutic strategy aimed at successfully treating [the applicant’s] health problems” (§80). Accordingly, it found that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention (§81). It also concluded that “the legal avenues put forward by the Government did not constitute an effective remedy that could have been used to prevent the alleged violations or their continuation and provide the applicant with adequate and sufficient redress for his complaints under Article 3 of the Convention” (§65). Therefore, there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention (§66).
In the case Litvinov, the Court also concluded that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention (§81) for the same reasons. On the other hand, it noted that the “medical documents showed that when heart surgery was recommended for the first time at the end of 2011, it was not considered to be an urgent necessity but was to be carried out in due course (see paragraph 37 above). The surgery was performed immediately after the urgency had arisen (see paragraph 55 above). Lastly, there is nothing to suggest that the applicant’s transfers between the facilities had any significant impact on his health or the quality of the medical treatment, given that the continuity of his treatment was preserved” (§95). Therefore, it found no violation of Article 3 of the Convention (§96).
The applicants are 22 Turkish nationals. Relying in particular on Articles 2 and 3, the applicants notably alleged an excessive and disproportionate use of force by the authorities during the operation conducted in Bayrampaşa Prison, on account of hunger strikes and a death fast begun by the prisoners, including the applicants, and its consequences.
Throughout the year 2000 prisoners in various Turkish prisons, including Bayrampaşa Prison, began hunger strikes and death fasts to protest against the introduction of “F-type” prisons, which provided for smaller living units for prisoners. In spite of attempts by various interlocutors, the prisoners refused to end the death fasts; they also refused to be examined by doctors sent by the Medical Council, who noted alarming weight loss in the prisoners and deterioration in their heath, which could affect their vital functions and entail their deaths within a few days. On 18 December 2000 the governor of Bayrampaşa Prison submitted for the prosecutor’s approval a request for intervention by the security forces, in order to provide the necessary treatment and prevent the deaths. On 19 December 2000 the security forces intervened in the prison, but they were met with resistance from certain prisoners, carrying firearms and inflammable products. The operation gave rise to violent confrontations; 12 prisoners were killed and about 50 prisoners were injured, including the applicants.
Complaint under Article 2
On the violation of Article 2 alleged by 4 applicants, the Court noted that the investigation and the criminal proceedings have still not established the circumstances of the occurrence of the applicants’ injuries while they were under the State’s responsibility. Thus, the Government is not able to sufficiently explain the origin of injuries and to ascertain that they have been victims of the use of legitimate force, as defined in Article 2 of the Convention (§87). The Court concluded that the use of force was not “absolutely necessary” within the meaning of Article 2 § 2 of the Convention (§88). Accordingly, there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention in respect of 4 applicants (§89).
Complaint under Article 3
On the violation of Article 3, the Court found that the injuries of 5 applicants were due to the use of teargas, as established by medical reports and that it has not been proved that the use of teargas was an adequate response to the situation in light of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention (§§93-107). Therefore, the Court concluded that there has been a violation of Article 3 in respect of 5 applicants (§108). Regarding the other applicants, the Court found that that it has not been proved that they were injured during the intervention of the security forces. Accordingly, it concluded that there has been no violation of Article 3 in respect of the other 17 applicants (§110).
23 March 2016
The case concerned the detention for 30 days of a 12-year old boy, who was suffering from a mental and neurobehavioural disorder, in a temporary detention centre for juvenile offenders. The Court found that the boy had not received adequate medical care for his condition at the temporary detention centre, in violation of Article 3.
His placement in the centre could not be justified under Article 5§1 since it had not served an educational purpose. Instead, the domestic courts deciding on his placement had referred to “behaviour correction” and the need to prevent the boy from committing further delinquent acts, neither of which was a valid ground covered by Article 5 § 1 (d).
The Court agreed with the Chamber judgment in the case that the proceedings concerning the boy’s placement in the temporary detention centre were to be considered criminal proceedings for the purpose of Article 6, although they had not been classified as criminal under Russian law. In particular, the domestic courts had referred to the fact that the boy had committed a delinquent act as the main reason for his placement in the detention centre. His defence rights had been violated because he had been questioned by the police without legal assistance and the statements of two witnesses whom he was unable to question had served as a basis for his placement in temporary detention. Furthermore the Court underlined that it was essential for adequate procedural safeguards to be in place to protect the best interest and well-being of a child when his or her liberty was at stake. Children with disabilities might moreover require additional safeguards to ensure that they were sufficiently protected. There had been accordingly a violation of Article 6.
24 March 2016
This case concerned a pregnant detainee, who alleged that she had been shackled in the maternity hospital where she had given birth and that she and her newborn son had subsequently been held in very poor conditions in a pre-trial detention centre, without adequate medical care.
There had been four violations of Article 3: Ms Korneykova’s shackling in the maternity hospital; the physical conditions of Ms Korneykova and her newborn son in pre-trial detention; the inadequate medical care provided to Ms Korneykova’s newborn son in detention; and, Ms Korneykova’s placement in a metal cage during court hearings on her case.
The Court considered unanimously that in the circumstances of the present case the cumulative effect of malnutrition of the applicant, inadequate sanitary and hygiene arrangements for her and her newborn son, as well as insufficient outdoor walks, must have been of such an intensity as to induce in her physical suffering and mental anguish amounting to her and her child’s inhuman and degrading treatment. Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the physical conditions of the applicants’ detention.
Furthermore, the applicant was held in a metal cage during all the hearings in her case, which took place on 12 April, 17 May, 15 June, 2 and 31 August and 15 November 2012. During the first two hearings she was at a very advanced stage of pregnancy, whereas during the remaining four hearings she was a nursing mother separated from her baby in the courtroom by metal bars. In fact, no justification for such a restraint measure was even considered given the judge’s position that the mere placement of the first applicant outside the cage would have been equal to her release, contrary to the custodial preventive measure applied.
The Court found in particular that shackling Ms Korneykova when she was suffering labour pains and immediately after her baby’s delivery, as well as the cumulative effect – during the ensuing six months of her pre-trial detention – of her malnutrition as a breastfeeding mother, inadequate sanitary and hygiene arrangements for her and her newborn son and insufficient outdoor walks had amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.
There has accordingly been violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The applicant alleged that he had been detained pending trial notwithstanding the absence of relevant and sufficient reasons, in breach of Article 5§3 of the Convention. The Court first observed that the domestic judicial authorities justified need to detain the applicant during the criminal proceedings against him saying he might “abscond or interfere with the administration of justice by inter alia putting pressure on witnesses” (§57). Their reasoning was essentially based on the severity of the sentence faced. The Court also pointed that the domestic authorities “in refusing to release the applicant, argued that he had failed to furnish evidence to distorve the prosecution’s allegations as to the existence” of this risk (§60), and therefore shifted the burden of proof to the detained person. As a result, the Court concluded that “by failing to consider alternative ‘preventive measures’, relying essentially on the seriousness of the charges and by shifting the burden of proof to the applicant”, the authorities extended the applicant’s detention on grounds that cannot be regarded as sufficient to justify its duration. Accordingly, the Court declared there had been a violation of Article 5§3.
The Court further observed that since its first judgment concerning the excessive length of pre-trial detention it had delivered more than 110 against Russia in which a violation of Article 5§3 was found, and that approximatively 700 applications raising an issue un Article 5§3 were pending. The Court went on to note that the issue had already been considered by the Committee of Ministers (see i.a. CM/inf/DH(2007)4). Last, the Court pointed that according to official data the domestic courts granted approximatively 90% of all initial applications for remand in custody lodged by prosecuting authorities and more than 93% requests for extension of pre-trial detention. These findings demonstrated that the present case was not isolated but originates from a structural problem consisting of a practice incompatible with the Convention. In view of the extent of this problem, the Court declared the respondent State has the obligation to select, under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers, appropriate measures to redress so far as possible the effects. The Court concluded stressing “the importance of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings” (§82).
29 March 2016
The applicant complained in particular that he had been detained in inhuman conditions, in violation of Article 3. Furthermore, he alleged a violation of Article 13, complaining that he did not have an effective remedy available at domestic level in respect of his complaints under Article 3.
Complaint under Article 3
The Court noted that overcrowding had been confirmed “both by the Government’s data […] and the Human Rights Centre” (§33). The Court further noted that “the high humidity, smoking in the cell and insufficient ventilation all further increased the applicant’s sufferings, which exceeded the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention” (§33). As a result, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3.