Koryak v. Russia

Application number 24677/10
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The applicant was arrested and convicted of murder. The applicant alleged that he had not received proper medical attention while in detention and his detention and refusal to release despite his serious medical condition amounted to cruel treatment. He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in 2004. The applicant had been suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) since 1981. He was further diagnosed with HIV. His health was rapidly deteriorating and he applied for release on parole. His request was rejected. On appeal. The Regional Court stated that as the facility was equipped to provide the applicant proper medical assistance, the order dismissing the appeal was upheld.

The applicant and a medical panel filed a request for early release, which was rejected. A third request was rejected on similar grounds as the first two orders.

The applicant died in 2011 and his mother pursued the application on his behalf.

The Court held that there was a violation of Article 3 (prohibiting torture, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).

The Court noted that despite the progression the applicant’s HIV infection from Stage 2 to Stage 4 that in 2004, the applicant was not given adequate treatment for the infection. There was no immunological assessment or antiretroviral therapy. Further the relapse of the applicant’s tuberculosis pointed to the fact that there was inadequate treatment. The applicant received treatment for TB only in 2008. The Court stated that the applicant’s exposure to prolonged mental and physical suffering diminished his human dignity.

Turning to the circumstances of the present case, the Court observes that tests performed on admission of the applicant to the temporary detention facility in January 2004 revealed his infection with clinical stage 2 HIV. His history of tuberculosis infection was also noted by the detention facility’s administration and he was considered in need of close medical supervision, regardless of his long-time clinical recovery from the latter infection. Despite the steady progression of the HIV infection with the disease having passed to clinical stage 3 towards the end of 2005 (see paragraph 15 above) and then to the stage 4 in the beginning of 2007 with a further rapid progression of the illness, a fact which was not included in the typed version of the applicant’s medical records (see paragraph 18 above), the applicant did not receive any treatment in respect of his HIV infection. During all those years there was also no proper immunological assessment, involving specific testing, to determine when it was time to initiate antiretroviral therapy. It was not until 12 February 2009, that is more than five years after the authorities had learned about the applicant’s illness and almost two years after the illness had reached its most severe clinical stage, that he commenced the therapy. This fact alone is sufficient for the Court to find that the authorities failed to comply with their responsibility to ensure the provision of adequate medical treatment to the applicant.” (Para 102)

The Court is further concerned by the fact that despite the extreme seriousness of the applicant’s condition, with his final diagnosis indicating that the HIV infection had progressed to AIDS with ongoing deterioration of his health, the antiretroviral therapy, vital for the applicant, was interrupted for almost a month when he was transferred to the temporary detention facility in November 2009. The evidence presented by the Government in support of the assertion that the applicant continued receiving treatment is unconvincing (see paragraph 30 above).” (Para 105)