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European Observer on fundamental right's respect

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Case Law 25664/2005 (06/12/2007)

Type: Judgment

Authority: European Authorities: European Court of human rights

Date: 12/06/2007

Subject: The Court held unanimously that there had been:a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the conditions of the applicant’s detention;a violation of Article 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security) of the Convention concerning the length of his pre-trial detention;a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life). Mr Lind complained about the inhuman conditions of his detention, the length of his pre-trial detention and the refusal of leave to visit his father on his deathbed or attend a farewell ceremony for him. He relied on Articles 3, 5 § 3 and 8. Article 3 The Court noted that the fact that the applicant was obliged to live, sleep and use the toilet in the same cell with so many other inmates was itself sufficient to cause distress or hardship of an intensity exceeding the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention, and arouse in him the feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing him. The Court further observed that the applicant suffered from a chronic kidney disease. However, no treatment for his disease was provided. The Court concluded that, by keeping the applicant in overcrowded cells and by refusing him medical assistance appropriate to his chronic kidney condition, the domestic authorities had subjected him to inhuman and degrading treatment. There had therefore been a violation of Article 3 concerning his detention conditions. Article 5 § 3 The Court considered that by failing to address concrete facts or consider alternative “preventive measures” and by relying essentially on the gravity of the charges, the authorities had prolonged the applicant's detention on grounds which, although “relevant”, could not be regarded as “sufficient”. There had therefore been a violation of Article 5 § 3. Article 8 The Court noted that respect for the applicant's family life required that, once his application for release had been rejected, the applicant be offered another way of saying goodbye to his dying father. The applicant had in fact been allowed to talk to his father over the phone, in Russian only. The conversation had lasted a minute and had been interrupted by the facility administration. The Government had not provided any explanation for the interruption of the conversation. The Court considered that a one-minute conversation in a language which the applicant's father had difficulty understanding did not allow the applicant to say goodbye to his father in a meaningful way. No other possibility to contact his father had been offered. The Court therefore concluded that the domestic authorities had failed to secure respect for the applicant's family life, in violation of Article 8. Judge Kovler expressed a concurring opinion, which is annexed to the judgment.

Parties: Lind c/ Russia

Classification: Dignity - Art. 4 Torture - Inhuman punishments - Degrading punishments - Inhuman treatments - Degrading treatments - Freedoms - Art. 6 Personal security - Equality - Art. 21 Non discrimination