Gutsanovi v. Bulgaria (Application no. 34529/10) [Extracts]

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.


136. The Court reiterates its findings to the effect that the police operation in question was planned and carried out without regard for a number of relevant factors such as the nature of the criminal offences of which Mr Gutsanov was suspected, the fact that he had no history of violence, and the possible presence of his wife and daughters in the family home. All these elements point clearly to the excessive nature of the deployment of special officers and special procedures in order to arrest the first applicant and enable the police to enter his home. The Court considers that, in the light of these circumstances, the manner in which Mr Gutsanov’s arrest was carried out – very early in the morning, by several armed and masked officers who forced their way in through the door of the house, and under the frightened gaze of Mr Gutsanov’s wife and two young daughters – aroused strong feelings of fear, anguish and powerlessness in the first applicant, capable of humiliating and debasing him in his own eyes and in the eyes of his close relatives. The Court considers that the intensity of these feelings exceeded the threshold of severity required for Article 3 to apply. Accordingly, Mr Gutsanov too was subjected to degrading treatment.

137. In conclusion, having taken into account all the relevant circumstances in the present case, the Court considers that the police operation at the applicants’ home was not planned and carried out in such a way as to ensure that the means employed were strictly necessary in order to attain the ultimate objectives of arresting a person suspected of committing criminal offences and gathering evidence in the context of a criminal investigation. The four applicants were subjected to a psychological ordeal which aroused in them strong feelings of fear, anguish and powerlessness and which, on account of its adverse effects, amounted to degrading treatment for the purposes of Article 3. There has therefore been a violation of that provision in the present case.


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