Semikhvostov v. Russia (Application no. 2689/12)

Key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.


84. The Court observes that the fellow inmates whose assistance the applicant depended on for his daily routine and mobility had not been trained nor had the necessary qualifications to provide such assistance. The Government argued that the inmates had voluntarily agreed to assist the applicant when necessary. The Court is not persuaded by such an argument, and does not consider that the applicant’s special needs were thereby attended to or that the State has complied with its obligations under Article 3 of the Convention in that respect (see, for similar reasoning, Grimailovs v. Latvia, no.6087/03, § 161, 25 June 2013). The Court has already stressed its disapproval of a situation in which prison staff feel relieved of their duty to provide security and care to more vulnerable detainees by making their cellmates responsible for providing them with daily assistance or, if necessary, with first aid (see, mutatis mutandis, Kaprykowski v. Poland, no. 23052/05, § 74, 3 February 2009). It is clear that in the present case the help offered by the applicant’s fellow inmates did not form part of any organised assistance by the State to ensure that the applicant was detained in conditions compatible with respect for his human dignity. It cannot therefore be considered suitable or sufficient in view of the applicant’s physical disability [wheelchair] (see the above-cited cases of Farbtuhs, § 60, and D.G. v. Poland, § 147).
86. In the light of the foregoing considerations and their cumulative effects, the Court holds that the conditions of the applicant’s detention in view of his physical disability and, in particular, his inability to have access to various premises in the correctional facility independently, including the canteen and sanitation facilities, and in such a situation the lack of any organised assistance with his mobility around the facility or his daily routine, must have caused him such unnecessary and avoidable mental and physical suffering, diminishing his human dignity, that this amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment. There has, accordingly, been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.


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