Keenan v. the United Kingdom (Application no. 27229/95)

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


111. It is relevant in the context of the present application to recall also that the authorities are under an obligation to protect the health of persons deprived of liberty (see Hurtado v. Switzerland, judgment of 28 January 1994, Series A no. 280-A, opinion of the Commission, pp. 15-16, § 79). The lack of appropriate medical care may amount to treatment contrary to Article 3 (see İlhan v. Turkey[GC], no. 22277/93, § 87, ECHR 2000-VII). In particular, the assessment of whether the treatment or punishment concerned is incompatible with the standards of Article 3 has, in the case of mentally ill persons, to take into consideration their vulnerability and their inability, in some cases, to complain coherently or at all about how they are being affected by any particular treatment (see, for example, Herczegfalvy, cited above, pp. 25-26, § 82, and Aerts v. Belgium, judgment of 30 July 1998, Reports1998-V, p. 1966, § 66).

116. The lack of effective monitoring of Mark Keenan’s condition and the lack of informed psychiatric input into his assessment and treatment disclose significant defects in the medical care provided to a mentally ill person known to be a suicide risk. The belated imposition on him in those circumstances of a serious disciplinary punishment – seven days’ segregation in the punishment block and an additional twenty-eight days to his sentence imposed two weeks after the event and only nine days before his expected date of release – which may well have threatened his physical and moral resistance, is not compatible with the standard of treatment required in respect of a mentally ill person. It must be regarded as constituting inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention.


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