EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
CASE OF KHAYLETDINOV v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 2763/13)
<*> This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Khayletdinov v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Luis Guerra, President,
Pere Pastor Vilanova, judges,
and Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 1 December 2015,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
- The case originated in an application (no. 2763/13) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Mr Ildar Fayzrakhmanovich Khayletdinov (“the applicant”), on 2 December 2012.
- The applicant, who had been granted legal aid, was represented by Mr I. Makarov, a lawyer practising in Astrakhan. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
- The applicant alleged that he had not benefited from adequate medical care in detention, had not had an effective remedy for his complaint about the poor medical services and that his pre-trial detention had been unreasonably long.
- On 27 November 2013 the application was communicated to the Government.
- The circumstances of the case
- The applicant was born in 1953 and is serving his sentence in correctional colony no. 2 in the Astrakhan Region.
- Arrest and detention
- On 9 May 2012 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of murder committed during a fight with the victim. Two days later the Kirovskiy District Court of Astrakhan authorised his remand in custody, having noted the gravity of the charges, his previous convictions, including for violent crimes, his failure to “get on the road to improvement”, the absence of an “official” source of income, and his lack of dependants.
- That decision was upheld on appeal by the Astrakhan Regional Court, which fully endorsed the District Court’s reasoning. In addition, the Regional Court took into account that the applicant was suffering from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but stated that there was no medical evidence that he could not continue being detained in the conditions of a temporary detention facility.
- Another extension of the applicant’s detention followed on 9 July 2012, when the District Court accepted the investigator’s arguments that he was likely to re-offend, abscond and interfere with the investigation. The District Court linked those risks to the gravity of the charges against the applicant, his having received “negative characteristics” at his place of residence, as well as his having already been “the subject of criminal prosecution”. At the same time the court examined medical evidence produced by the applicant in support of his claim that the fact that he was suffering from an advanced stage of HIV precluded his detention. The District Court dismissed the claim, stressing that the applicant regularly received medication prescribed by a prison doctor and that his detention in the temporary detention facility did not pose a risk to his health.
- The District Court issued further orders extending the applicant’s pre-trial detention on 2 August, 6 September and 7 November 2012. Each time, it relied on the gravity of the charges and the risk flowing of the applicant absconding, interfering with the course of justice and reoffending. Neither detention order mentioned that the applicant had a criminal record. The applicant’s arguments about the progress of his HIV infection and the rapid deterioration of his health did not convince the District Court. The order of 7 November 2012 extended the applicant’s detention until 9 December 2012. It was upheld on appeal by the Astrakhan Regional Court on 14 November 2012, with reference to the gravity of the charges and the applicant’s “personality”. The relevant part of the decision reads as follows:
“On 11 May 2012… the Kirovskiy District Court of Astrakhan ordered [the applicant’s] detention. Subsequently, the detention was lawfully extended….
In extending the detention for up to seven months, the court reasonably took into account that [the applicant] was charged with a particularly serious criminal offence and that, in view of his personality and the circumstances of the case, he was liable to reoffend or destroy the evidence.
The court also correctly held that the case was particularly complex, due to the large number of investigatory activities and complex expert examinations to be conducted. The court also took into account the applicant’s lengthy treatment in the prison hospital.
The court correctly concluded that there were no grounds for changing the measure of restraint.”
The Regional Court did not address the applicant’s arguments, raised in his statement of appeal, that the investigating authorities significantly delayed a number of procedural actions, including the expert examination scheduled as early as June 2012 and not yet performed.
- The District Court further extended the applicant’s pre-trial detention on 8 December 2012, summarily referring to his “personality” and “socially dangerous conduct”. The court also pointed out that some unspecified expert examinations had been conducted, which had “objectively influenced the length of the investigation”.
- On 30 December 2012 the applicant’s pre-trial detention was again extended on the grounds of the gravity of the charges and the continued risk of his absconding and interfering with the course of justice. The court used similar wording as in the previous detention orders.
- On 16 March 2013 the applicant was served with the final version of the bill of indictment. The bill indicated that the applicant had no criminal record.
- On 6 August 2013 the District Court convicted the applicant of murder. The court found that he had killed the victim in the course of an altercation caused by the victim’s insults. The District Court sentenced the applicant to seven years of imprisonment, having taken into account the following mitigating circumstances: the applicant had no criminal record, was “positively characterised”, had surrendered himself to the police, had confessed to the killing and felt deep remorse, and the victim had behaved provocatively having initiated the conflict with the applicant.
- Applicant’s state of health
- Applicant’s account
- In January 2004 the applicant was diagnosed with stage 4A HIV. He was taken under the supervision of specialists of the Astrakhan Regional Centre for Protection from AIDS (hereinafter “the AIDS Centre”).
- Medical certificates provided by the applicant show that he had started receiving antiretroviral therapy on 22 March 2011 with very positive results. The viral load had significantly decreased and the applicant’s immune status had improved. A CD4 cell-count test carried out on 17 February 2012 showed that the level of CD4 cells was 489 cells/mm3.
- On 11 May 2012 the applicant was placed in detention facility no. 1. On the same date he was examined by a doctor, who recorded no complaints and diagnosed him with a stomach ulcer in remission.
- On 26 June 2012 doctors from the AIDS Centre recorded a deterioration in the applicant’s condition. They recommended continuation of the antiretroviral therapy and an in-patient examination.
- Between 12 July and 12 September 2012 the applicant underwent a check-up in the prison hospital of correctional colony no. 2 (“the hospital”). He was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, chronic gastroduodenitis, iron deficiency anaemia, fungal esophagitis, urolithiasis, and hepatic haemangioma.
- It appears that on 16 July 2012 an immunological test was performed. It showed that the level of CD4 cells was 649 cells/mm3.
- Since August 2012 the doctors have again recorded a deterioration in the applicant’s condition and an increase in his viral load. They linked the deterioration to prior interruptions in the antiretroviral therapy. It is not clear from the documents submitted by the applicant when and why those interruptions occurred.
- On 20 September 2012 a doctor from the AIDS Centre diagnosed the applicant with stage 4A HIV and fungal esophagitis, and recommended that antiretroviral therapy be continued.
- On 26 September 2012, on a recommendation of the medical staff of the AIDS Centre, the applicant was again admitted to the hospital. He underwent treatment for HIV and fungal esophagitis. On 8 October 2012 he returned to the detention facility.
- Throughout his detention the applicant was prescribed a special diet.
- Government’s account
- According to a typed copy of the applicant’s medical file provided by the Government, on admission to detention facility no. 1 the applicant was examined by a doctor whom he informed that he was suffering from HIV.
- On 16 May 2012 medical staff from the AIDS Centre were allowed to see the applicant. The doctors noted that he was suffering from stage 4A HIV and recommended that his antiretroviral therapy be continued. On the same date the applicant received one month’s dose of antiretroviral drugs (Reyataz and Combivir).
- The applicant continued being monitored by the medical staff of the AIDS-Centre, who examined him again on 26 June 2012. Following their recommendations, and in response to the applicant’s complaint of fatigue and pain in the epigastrium (upper abdomen), on 12 July 2012 he was transferred to the hospital for an in-depth examination. On the same date it was noted in his medical file that he was receiving antiretroviral drugs. The entries dated 2 and 6 August 2012 indicated that he had been taking those drugs.
- While at the hospital, the applicant was monitored by an infectious diseases specialist, who examined him on twenty-four occasions. The applicant also underwent an ultrasound examination and a fibrogastroduodenoscopy. On 27 August 2012 he was examined by an urologist and a gastroenterologist in a civil hospital. He was also observed by an otolaryngologist and a neurologist. The final diagnosis was: HIV infection aggravated by secondary illnesses, chronic pancreatitis, chronic gastroduodenitis, iron deficiency anaemia, oesophageal candidiasis, hepatic hemangioma, chronic prostatitis, chronic cholecystitis, fungal esophagitis, and a duodenal bulb ulcer. The applicant received treatment for those illnesses.
- On 12 September 2012, having found that the applicant’s condition had improved, the hospital discharged him.
- On 20 September 2012 a doctor from the AIDS Centre examined the applicant at the detention facility. The doctor noted that the applicant was taking the antiretroviral drugs with strict adherence, and recommended virological and immunological testing, as well as another ultrasound examination and a fibrogastroduodenoscopy.
- On 26 September 2012 the applicant was admitted to the hospital for additional tests. On 8 October he was transferred back to the detention facility.
- On 18 October 2012 the applicant complained of fatigue, coughing and headaches. A doctor diagnosed chronic bronchitis and prescribed him anti-candidiasis and cough medication, as well as vitamins.
- On 4 November 2012 an entry made in the applicant’s medical file indicated that the “last” immunological test had shown the level of CD4 cells at 513 cells/mm3.
- On 13 November 2012 the applicant complained to a doctor of heaviness in his abdomen, dizziness and heartburn. The doctor noted that those were the effects of his not complying with the special diet and prescribed medication for his ulcer and gastroduodenitis.
- On 27 November 2012 the applicant was examined in response to his complaints of fatigue, pain in the abdomen, and pyrosis. The doctor noted that the applicant had been receiving antiretroviral therapy and recommended his transfer to hospital for an examination and another diagnosis.
- On the applicant’s admission to the hospital on 3 December 2012, his complaints of fatigue, heartburn and stomach aches were recorded. On the same date it was again noted that he was receiving antiretroviral drugs. At the hospital he was seen by an infections specialist several times a week, examined by a neurologist and an otolaryngologist, and underwent a fibrogastroduodenoscopy. In addition to his previously recorded illnesses, the applicant was diagnosed with a prostate adenoma. He received treatment for his non-communicable diseases, and was prescribed the same antiretroviral drugs as before.
- On 18 January 2013 the applicant was dismissed from the hospital “in a satisfactory condition”, with the proviso that he had to be actively supervised by the detention facility medical personnel. On the same date he was examined by a doctor at the detention facility. The doctor noted that the applicant needed “dynamic supervision” and prescribed medication for his pancreatitis and stomach ulcer.
- On 23 January 2013, in response to the applicant’s complaint of back pains, he was prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs.
- On 12 February 2013 the applicant complained to a psychiatrist of sleeping problems and irritability, and was prescribed antidepressants.
- On 20 March 2013 a doctor from the AIDS Centre paid the applicant a visit. Following the doctor’s recommendation, the applicant was yet again admitted to hospital. On arrival he complained of poor appetite, fatigue, heartburn, pains in his chest and stomach ache. He was then seen by an infectious diseases specialist, an ophthalmologist, an otolaryngologist, a cardiologist and a neurologist. They concluded that there was no change in his diagnosis and prescribed him treatment for the non-communicable infections. On 3 April 2013 it was noted that the applicant was regularly taking antiretroviral drugs. A week later, despite the lack of significant improvement in his condition, he was discharged from the hospital since he had to appear at a court hearing.
- On 19 June 2013 the applicant was re-admitted to the hospital. Under the supervision of the infectious diseases specialist he received treatment for cholecystitis and gastroduodenitis. He was also examined by a neurologist, an otolaryngologist and an ophthalmologist, and was diagnosed with cerebrovascular disease. An entry in the record of 19 June 2013 showed that the applicant had enough drugs to last until 23 June 2013. The entry dated 25 June 2013 mentioned that he had not complied with the special diet prescribed to him. On 9 July 2013 the applicant was discharged in “satisfactory condition”, having been provided with antiretroviral drugs until 23 July 2013.
- On the applicant’s admission to correctional colony no. 2 on 24 October 2013, he was examined by prison doctors, who noted that he was receiving antiretroviral therapy.
- On 20 November 2013, in response to the applicant’s complaints of pain in the abdomen, he was examined by a prison doctor. A fibrogastroduodenoscopy was carried out on 22 November 2013, and he was prescribed medication for gastroduodenitis.
- On 10 December 2013 the applicant was examined by an infectious diseases specialist from the AIDS Centre. The doctor observed the applicant’s complaints of pain in the oesophagus and the chest, and noted that he was receiving antiretroviral drugs, namely Reyataz and Combivir. The doctor recommended that the applicant continue with the therapy and undergo an immunological test. He also suggested that he be subjected to an in-patient examination. The applicant refused to be admitted to the hospital.
- Complaints to the authorities
- Complaint to the administration of the detention facility
- On 12 and 16 November 2012 the applicant’s lawyer wrote to the administration of detention facility no. 1, drawing their attention to the applicant’s state of health and asking for his examination by a medical expert. On 13 November 2012 the facility director informed the lawyer that there was no evidence that the applicant was suffering from an illness preventing detention and that, accordingly, there were no grounds for a medical expert examination.
- On 4 February 2013 the applicant’s lawyer reiterated his request.
- Complaint to the administration of the investigatory committee
- On 10 December 2012 the applicant’s lawyer requested the investigator in charge of the applicant’s criminal case to order a medical examination of the applicant. On 13 December 2012 the request was refused. However, on 4 February 2014 that decision was revoked, and the applicant’s medical expert examination was authorised.
- Complaint to the court
- On 17 January 2013 the applicant’s lawyer complained to the Kirovskiy District Court of Astrakhan of the correctional colony administration’s inaction and asked the court to authorise the applicant’s medical examination. On 1 April 2013 the court dismissed the complaint and refused the examination request.
- Relevant domestic law
- Provisions governing the quality of medical care afforded to detainees
- Russian law gives detailed guidelines for the provision of medical assistance to detained individuals. These guidelines, set out in joint Decree no. 640/190 of the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the Ministry of Justice on the Organisation of Medical Assistance to Individuals Serving Sentences or Remanded in Custody (“the Regulation”), enacted on 17 October 2005, are applicable without exception to all detainees. In particular, section III of the Regulation sets out the initial steps to be taken by medical personnel of a detention facility on the admission of a detainee. On arrival at a temporary detention facility, all detainees should be subjected to a preliminary medical examination before they are placed in a cell shared by other inmates. The aim of the examination is to identify individuals suffering from contagious diseases and those in need of urgent medical assistance. Particular attention should be paid to individuals suffering from contagious conditions. No later than three days after the detainee’s arrival at the detention facility he or she should receive an in-depth medical examination, including an X-ray. During the in-depth examination a prison doctor should register the detainee’s complaints, study his medical and personal history, record any injuries and recent tattoos, and schedule additional medical procedures, if necessary. A prison doctor should also authorise laboratory analyses to identify sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, tuberculosis and other illnesses.
- Subsequent medical examinations of detainees should be performed at least twice a year or following a detainee’s complaints. If a detainee’s state of health has deteriorated, medical examinations and assistance should be provided by the detention facility medical staff. In such cases a medical examination should include a general check-up and additional tests, if necessary, with the participation of the relevant specialists. The results of the examinations should be recorded in the detainee’s medical file. The detainee should be comprehensively informed about the results of the medical examinations.
- Section III of the Regulation also sets out the procedure to follow in the event that the detainee refuses to undergo a medical examination or treatment. For each refusal, an entry should be made in the detainee’s medical record. A prison doctor should comprehensively explain to the detainee the consequences of his refusal to undergo the medical procedure.
- Any medicines prescribed to the detainee must be taken in the presence of a doctor. In a limited number of circumstances, the head of the detention facility medical department may authorise his medical personnel to hand over a daily dose of medicines to the detainee to be taken unobserved.
- The Internal Regulations of Correctional Institutions, in force since 3 November 2005, deal with every aspect of inmates’ lives in correctional institutions. In particular, paragraph 125 of the Regulations provides that inmates who are willing and able to pay for it may receive additional medical assistance. In such a situation, medical specialists from a State or municipal civilian hospital are to be called to the medical unit of the correctional institution where the inmate is being detained.
- Governmental Decree no. 3 of 14 January 2011 concerning the medical examination of individuals suspected or accused of criminal offences regulates the procedure for authorising and performing a medical examination of a detainee to determine whether he or she is suffering from a serious illness preventing his or her detention. It also contains a list of such serious illnesses. A decision on the medical examination of a detainee must be taken by the director of the detention facility following a written request from a detainee or his or her legal representative or a request by the head of the medical unit of that detention facility. The examination is performed by a medical commission of a facility appointed by the health service executive body of the respective region of the Russian Federation. The activities of the medical commission are determined by the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation.
- The examination must be performed within five days of the medical facility receiving the relevant order. Following the examination, the medical commission issues a report stating whether the detainee is suffering from a serious illness listed in the Decree. If a detainee who was previously examined by the medical commission experiences deterioration in his or her health, a new medical examination can be authorised.
- The list of serious illnesses preventing the detention of suspected or accused persons includes stage 4C or 5 HIV infection <*> accompanied by stable health impairment leading to a significant reduction in vitality and requiring lengthy treatment in a specialised medical facility.
<*> The Russian classification of the HIV-related disease is different from that employed by the World Health Organisation. Stages 4 and 5 in the Russian classification correspond to stages 3 and 4 in the WHO classification, respectively.
- Provisions establishing legal avenues for complaints about the quality of medical assistance
- The provisions of domestic law establishing legal avenues for complaints about quality of medical services are cited in the following judgments: Koryak v. Russia (no. 24677/10, §§ 46 – 57, 13 November 2012); Dirdizov v. Russia (no. 41461/10, §§ 47 – 61, 27 November 2012); and Reshetnyak v. Russia (no. 56027/10, §§ 35 – 46, 8 January 2013).
- Provisions governing detention
- The relevant provisions governing detention are described in the judgment of Pyatkov v. Russia (no. 61767/08, §§ 48 – 66, 13 November 2012).
III. Relevant international reports and documents
- Recommendation Rec(2006)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Prison Rules, adopted on 11 January 2006 at the 952nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (“the European Prison Rules”)
- The European Prison Rules provide a framework of guiding principles for health services. The relevant extracts from the Rules read as follows:
- Prison authorities shall safeguard the health of all prisoners in their care.
Organisation of prison health care
40.1 Medical services in prison shall be organised in close relation with the general health administration of the community or nation.
40.2 Health policy in prisons shall be integrated into, and compatible with, national health policy.
40.3 Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
40.4 Medical services in prison shall seek to detect and treat physical or mental illnesses or defects from which prisoners may suffer.
40.5 All necessary medical, surgical and psychiatric services including those available in the community shall be provided to the prisoner for that purpose.
Medical and health care personnel
41.1 Every prison shall have the services of at least one qualified general medical practitioner.
41.2 Arrangements shall be made to ensure at all times that a qualified medical practitioner is available without delay in cases of urgency.
41.4 Every prison shall have personnel suitably trained in health care.
Duties of the medical practitioner
42.1 The medical practitioner or a qualified nurse reporting to such a medical practitioner shall see every prisoner as soon as possible after admission, and shall examine them unless this is obviously unnecessary.
42.3 When examining a prisoner the medical practitioner or a qualified nurse reporting to such a medical practitioner shall pay particular attention to:
- diagnosing physical or mental illness and taking all measures necessary for its treatment and for the continuation of existing medical treatment;
43.1 The medical practitioner shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and shall see, under the conditions and with a frequency consistent with health care standards in the community, all sick prisoners, all who report illness or injury and any prisoner to whom attention is specially directed.
Health care provision
46.1 Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialised institutions or to civil hospitals when such treatment is not available in prison.
46.2 Where a prison service has its own hospital facilities, they shall be adequately staffed and equipped to provide the prisoners referred to them with appropriate care and treatment.”
- 3rd General Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (“the CPT Report”)
- The complexity and importance of health-care services in detention facilities was discussed by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture in its 3rd General Report (CPT/Inf (93) 12 – Publication Date: 4 June 1993). The following are extracts from the report:
“33. When entering prison, all prisoners should without delay be seen by a member of the establishment’s health care service. In its reports to date the CPT has recommended that every newly arrived prisoner be properly interviewed and, if necessary, physically examined by a medical doctor as soon as possible after his admission. It should be added that in some countries, medical screening on arrival is carried out by a fully qualified nurse, who reports to a doctor. This latter approach could be considered as a more efficient use of available resources.
It is also desirable that a leaflet or booklet be handed to prisoners on their arrival, informing them of the existence and operation of the health care service and reminding them of basic measures of hygiene.
- While in custody, prisoners should be able to have access to a doctor at any time, irrespective of their detention regime… The health care service should be so organised as to enable requests to consult a doctor to be met without undue delay…
- A prison’s health care service should at least be able to provide regular out-patient consultations and emergency treatment (of course, in addition there may often be a hospital-type unit with beds)… Further, prison doctors should be able to call upon the services of specialists.
As regards emergency treatment, a doctor should always be on call. Further, someone competent to provide first aid should always be present on prison premises, preferably someone with a recognised nursing qualification.
Out-patient treatment should be supervised, as appropriate, by health care staff; in many cases it is not sufficient for the provision of follow-up care to depend upon the initiative being taken by the prisoner.
- The direct support of a fully-equipped hospital service should be available, in either a civil or prison hospital…
- A prison health care service should be able to provide medical treatment and nursing care, as well as appropriate diets, physiotherapy, rehabilitation or any other necessary special facility, in conditions comparable to those enjoyed by patients in the outside community. Provision in terms of medical, nursing and technical staff, as well as premises, installations and equipment, should be geared accordingly.
There should be appropriate supervision of the pharmacy and of the distribution of medicines. Further, the preparation of medicines should always be entrusted to qualified staff (pharmacist/nurse, etc.)….
- A medical file should be compiled for each patient, containing diagnostic information as well as an ongoing record of the patient’s evolution and of any special examinations he has undergone. In the event of a transfer, the file should be forwarded to the doctors in the receiving establishment.
Further, daily registers should be kept by health care teams, in which particular incidents relating to the patients should be mentioned. Such registers are useful in that they provide an overall view of the health care situation in the prison, at the same time as highlighting specific problems which may arise.
- The smooth operation of a health care service presupposes that doctors and nursing staff are able to meet regularly and to form a working team under the authority of a senior doctor in charge of the service…”
С. Guidelines issued by the World Health Organization
- According to the guidelines on “Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents” issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) within the HIV/AIDS programme, following revision in 2006, routine monitoring of CD4 cell counts was recommended every six months, or more frequently if clinically indicated (§ 15.4).
- Following revision in 2010, the guidelines recommended that all patients should have access to CD4 cell-count testing to optimise pre-antiretroviral therapy care and management of their antiretroviral therapy. Regular immunological testing was recommended for all patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (§ 20.1), and virological and immunological criteria were to be used to confirm treatment failure (§ 16.1). In paragraph 21.7 the guidelines addressed the issue of preventing and assessing HIV drug resistance:
“The rapid or uncontrolled emergence of HIV drug resistance could lead to an increase in therapeutic failures, transmission of resistant virus, and a decrease in therapeutic options, treatment programme effectiveness and survival. Implementing programme elements that minimize the emergence of HIV drug resistance, including optimizing access to antiretroviral therapy, supporting appropriate therapy prescribing and adherence, and ensuring adequate and continuous drug supplies, is essential for preserving the efficacy of the limited number of antiretroviral drugs available in many countries.”
- Alleged violation of Article 3 of the Convention
- The applicant complained that the authorities had not taken steps to safeguard his health and well-being, having failed to provide him with adequate medical assistance in breach of Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
- Submissions by the parties
- The Government argued that in order to assess whether the authorities had complied with their obligations under Article 3, the quality of the medical care afforded to the applicant needed to be examined against the applicable standards. They further submitted that should any omissions be detected, it was necessary to determine what impact, if any, they had had on the applicant’s health. According to the Government, those questions could only be answered by experts. However, the applicant had not produced any expert reports proving the inadequacy of the medical assistance he had received in detention. The Government stressed that during his detention the applicant had been under medical supervision and that he had received in-patient and out-patient treatment for all the diseases with which he had been diagnosed. The Government therefore concluded that the applicant’s complaint under Article 3 was manifestly ill-founded.
- The applicant maintained his claims. He submitted that as a result of the lack of adequate medical care and appropriate diet, his health had severely deteriorated after his arrest. At every court hearing the defence had drawn the authorities’ attention to the deterioration in the applicant’s condition and to the developing concomitant illnesses. The administration had failed to provide the applicant with a special diet. The applicant submitted that he could not afford to obtain an expert report to prove the inadequacy of the medical care provided. He concluded by noting that poor diet and conditions of hygiene had fostered the progression of his diseases.
- The Court’s assessment
- The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
(a) General principles
- The Court reiterates that Article 3 of the Convention enshrines one of the most fundamental values of democratic society. It prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the circumstances and the victim’s behaviour (see, for example, Labita v. Italy [GC], no. 26772/95, § 119, ECHR 2000-IV). Ill-treatment must, however, attain a minimum level of severity if it is to fall within the scope of Article 3. The assessment of this minimum is relative: it depends on all the circumstances of the case, such as the duration of the treatment, its physical and mental effects and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of health of the victim (see, among other authorities, v. Romania, no. 7842/04, § 63, 3 April 2012, with further references).
- Ill-treatment that attains such a minimum level of severity usually involves actual bodily injury or intense physical or mental suffering. However, even in the absence of these, where treatment humiliates or debases an individual, showing a lack of respect for or diminishing his or her human dignity, or arouses feelings of fear, anguish or inferiority capable of breaking an individual’s moral and physical resistance, it may be characterised as degrading and also fall within the prohibition of Article 3 (see Pretty v. the United Kingdom, no. 2346/02, § 52, ECHR 2002-III, with further references).
- The State must ensure that a person is detained in conditions which are compatible with respect for human dignity, that the manner and method of the execution of the measure of deprivation of liberty do not subject him to distress or hardship of an intensity exceeding the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention and that, given the practical demands of imprisonment, his health and well-being are adequately secured (see v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, §§ 92 – 94, ECHR 2000-XI, and Popov v. Russia, no. 26853/04, § 208, 13 July 2006). In most of the cases concerning the detention of persons who were ill, the Court examined whether or not the applicant had received adequate medical assistance in prison. The Court reiterates in this regard that even though Article 3 does not entitle a detainee to be released “on compassionate grounds”, it has always interpreted the requirement to secure the health and well-being of detainees, among other things, as an obligation on the part of the State to provide detainees with the requisite medical assistance (see , cited above, § 94; Kalashnikov v. Russia, no. 47095/99, § 95, ECHR 2002-VI; and Khudobin v. Russia, no. 59696/00, § 96, ECHR 2006-XII (extracts)).
- The “adequacy” of medical assistance remains the most difficult element to determine. The Court insists that, in particular, authorities must ensure that diagnosis and care are prompt and accurate (see Hummatov v. Azerbaijan, nos. 9852/03 and 13413/04, § 115, 29 November 2007; Melnik v. Ukraine, no. 72286/01, §§ 104 – 106, 28 March 2006; Yevgeniy Alekseyenko, cited above, § 100; Gladkiy v. Russia, no. 3242/03, § 84, 21 December 2010; Khatayev v. Russia, no. 56994/09, § 85, 11 October 2011; and, mutatis mutandis, Holomiov v. Moldova, no. 30649/05, § 121, 7 November 2006), and that, where necessitated by the nature of a medical condition, supervision is regular and systematic and involves a comprehensive therapeutic strategy aimed at adequately treating the detainee’s health problems or preventing their aggravation (see Hummatov, cited above, §§ 109 and 114; Sarban v. Moldova, no. 3456/05, § 79, 4 October 2005; and Popov, cited above, § 211).
- On the whole, the Court reserves sufficient flexibility in defining the required standard of health care, deciding it on a case-by-case basis. That standard should be “compatible with the human dignity” of a detainee, but should also take into account “the practical demands of imprisonment” (see Aleksanyan v. Russia, no. 46468/06, § 140, 22 December 2008).
(b) Application of the above principles to the present case
- Turning to the circumstances of the present case, the Court observes that on the applicant’s admission to the temporary detention facility in May 2012, the authorities recorded that he was suffering from HIV. According to the documents provided by the applicant, he was also diagnosed with a stomach ulcer in remission. The documents produced by the Government contain no indication that any other concomitant diseases were recorded when the applicant was admitted to the facility.