LOGVINENKO v. UKRAINE

CASE OF LOGVINENKO v. UKRAINE
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The applicant was a Ukrainian national and lodged his claim to the European Court of Human Rights (the ECHR) on grounds that he had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) due to the conditions of his detention in prison; lack of medical assistance and arrangements required by his state of health, and ill treatment by prison officials. Before his detention, the applicant had been diagnosed with HIV and lung TB. He had been serving a life imprisonment and claimed that adequate medical care wasn’t provided to him and necessary physical arrangements hadn’t been made for him in detention from 2001-2008 in consideration it hof his state of health. He hadn’t been treated for HIV, had been denied blood tests to count his CD4 and was told that he would start antiretroviral treatment after his TB was treated. His treatment for the TB was irregular and inadequate,  and he hadn’t received any TB treatment from March-May 2001.

The applicant claimed that his request for release on humanitarian grounds in May 2001 based on the recommendation of a panel of medical practitioners at the detention center hadn’t been answered that he had to remain detained. He had been treated for TB since 2001 but the treatment hadn’t been effective as he had been denied consultations several times, recommendations made on account of his conditions hadn’t been followed, necessary tests were not available at the center’s facility and hadn’t been performed for him. He also claimed that the conditions of his detentions (the bedding, the temperature and the drinking water) had exposed him to other diseases, his TB spread and became chronic. His complaints to the ombudsman, the Prosecutor’s Office and the local Department for the Enforcement of Sentences regarding inadequate medical care and the condition of his detention failed to solve his problem. Even after he was transferred to the Penitentiary Hospital for comprehensive medical care, medical arrangements hadn’t improved and he hadn’t been treated for HIV. 

The government argued that the applicant had been provided with regular and adequate medical treatment in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. It also stated that the applicant started preparing for the HIV treatment after positive results were shown for the TB.

The applicant claimed that he and other inmates “had their heads covered with sacks, were forced onto their knees, handcuffed and beaten” by prison officers upon their arrival at Penitentiary no. 47 in October 2004. He stated that they had beaten him several times, “threatened him with a dog, knocked on the door with a stick for no reason, interrupted his sleep, opened the door to the cell suddenly for various checks, and verbally insulted him. During the daytime the applicant was forbidden to lie on the bed. Furthermore, when the applicant needed to leave the building, for instance for fluorography, his head was covered with a sack and he was made to walk in an unnatural position (“a duck”- legs bent with hands behind the head). On 6 April 2005 the applicant was beaten for lying on his bed during the daytime when ill and on 29 June 2005 for refusing to assume the “duck” walking position. Each day the applicant was handcuffed and body-searched, being forced to stand barefoot on the concrete floor while the officers searched his shoes”. [Para. 32] Although he claimed to the prison officials and to the district court, he had no information whether his claim had reached them.  The government argued that no such ill-treatment had happened to the applicant.

The applicant also claimed that he had no effective domestic remedy for his complaints in violation of Article 13 of the Convention.

The ECHR dismissed the applicant's claim regarding willful ill treatment at the detention center on the ground that he hadn't presented an evidence to show that he had communicated such treatment to the prison's administration. There was no evidence that the applicant's handwritten application had reached the district court or that he had exhausted domestic remedies in this instance.

The ECHR found that the applicant hadn't been provided with comprehensive medical assistance and supervision for his treatment for his TB and HIV. It also noted that the necessary conditions for his recovery from TB hadn't been fulfilled.  The ECHR held that domestic authorities failed to fulfill their obligation under Article 3 of the Convention, subjecting the applicant to inhuman and degrading treatment.

The ECHR found that the government hadn't shown that the applicant had the chance to have his complaints reviewed and stopped or compensated for his damages. The applicant lacked access to an effective domestic remedy in relation to his complaints regarding his medical treatment and the conditions of his detention in violation of Article 13 of the Convention.

The ECHR awarded the applicant non-pecuniary damage.

"Analyzing to what extent the Government may be held responsible for the deterioration of the applicant's health in the light of the general principles established in its case-law (see Ukhan v. Ukraine, cited above, §§ 72-74), the Court notes the apparent lack of systematic and strategic supervision and conditions of detention reasonably adapted to his state of health, which, in its view, was indispensable given the applicant's particular condition". [para. 19]

"obliging prisoners to stay in an establishment lacking suitable facilities for appropriate treatment of tuberculosis or refusing them access to such facilities is unacceptable. In addition, when inaccessibility of adapted detention conditions is followed by failure to segregate healthy inmates from those sick with contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, can not only provoke severe physical and mental suffering in a prisoner needing treatment, but facilitate dissemination of the disease and have serious adverse consequences for the prison population as a whole". [Para. 74]

 

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