ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ Европейского суда по правам человека от 16.06.2005<ДЕЛО ЛАБЗОВ (labzov) ПРОТИВ РОССИИ> [англ.]


EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF LABZOV v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 62208/00)
JUDGMENT <*>
(Strasbourg, 16.VI.2005)
--------------------------------
<*> 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 Labzov v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mrs E. Steiner,
Mr K. Hajiyev,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 26 May 2005,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 62208/00) 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 Vladimir Madestovich Labzov ("the applicant") on 8 June 2000.
2. The applicant, who had been granted legal aid, was represented by Ms Gabriele Braun, a lawyer practising in Strasbourg. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr Pavel Laptev, the Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
3. The applicant alleged, in particular, that the conditions of his detention on remand were inhuman and that the State hindered his free communication with the Court.
4. The application was allocated to the First Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court). Within that Section, the Chamber that would consider the case (Article 27 § 1 of the Convention) was constituted as provided in Rule 26 § 1.
5. By a decision of 8 January 2004, the Court declared the application partly admissible.
6. On 1 November 2004 the Court changed the composition of its Sections (Rule 25 § 1). This case was assigned to the newly composed First Section (Rule 25 § 2).
7. The applicant and the Government each filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1). The Chamber decided, after consulting the parties, that no hearing on the merits was required (Rule 59 § 3 in fine).
THE FACTS
I. The circumstances of the case
A. The applicant"s detention on remand
8. The applicant was born in 1956 and lives in Cheboksary. He used to work as a manager of a private building partnership. In April 2000 the police charged him with embezzlement. They accused the applicant of having fraudulently appropriated a tractor and a tank truck belonging to the partnership.
9. On 10 April 2000, the investigator in charge of the applicant"s case interviewed the applicant and decided to put him in a remand prison. Since the applicant had had a heart condition during the interview, the investigator had to put him in a prison hospital instead.
10. Diagnosed with a coronary heart disease, the applicant spent the next 36 days in hospital UL-34/4. During this time, he was 14 times examined by a cardiologist and once by a neurologist. The doctors treated the applicant with medicines and made laboratory tests. As soon as the applicant"s condition had stabilised, he was discharged from the hospital.
11. On 16 May 2000, the applicant was relocated to remand prison IZ-21/2 in Tsivilsk. The parties" descriptions of the prison and of the life in it differ.
12. According to the applicant, prisoners were delivered to the prison in armoured vans. Even though the heat outside reached 30°C, each van carried as many as 30 - 40 prisoners. The air in the vans was stuffy. Guards clubbed the prisoners and set the dogs on them. The prison building, built in the 18th century, had never been renovated. Dirt-filled floors let no air through. Cells were illuminated with 40 watt filament lamps, too dim to read by. The prison administration confiscated all the medicines the applicant had and gave no replacement.
13. According to the Government, the applicant was delivered to the prison in a van that could carry 22 prisoners. The air outside was cool, 6°C, and the van carried as few as 14 prisoners. The guards used no clubs or dogs. In 2002 - 03 the prison building was renovated: sanitary equipment was replaced, walls were repainted, a forced ventilation system was installed. During the applicant"s stay in the prison, all cells were sufficiently lit with filament lamps. Windows were large enough to read and work by natural light. The temperature and humidity in the cells were within the established norms. The prison had a central continuous supply of potable water from its own artesian well. The quality of the water was routinely inspected by a bacteriological laboratory. Every cell had a cistern of potable water. In addition, daily at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. prisoners received boiled drinking water. The applicant always had a separate bed, a mattress, a blanket, two sheets, a pillow, and a pillow-case. He could have shower at least once a week. After each shower, the applicant received fresh bedding and underwear. Prison doctors treated him and gave him necessary medicines. The applicant could not, however, have any medicines of his own.
14. On his arrival to the prison, the applicant was put in Cell 16, in which he spent half a day. The parties" descriptions of this cell differ.
15. According to the applicant, this cell was in a poor technical condition. Its floor was flooded with excrements.
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16. According to the Government, this cell measured 19.3 m
It housed 20 prisoners, even though it was designed to house 10.
There was a double-glazed window of 115 x 95 cm. The window had a
115 x 20 cm window leaf to ventilate the cell. In one corner of
the cell there were a toilet and a wash-basin. The toilet was
fixed 70 cm above the floor and could be reached by two steps. It
was separated from the rest of the cell with a curtain and a tiled
wall, at least 1 m high. The toilet had flushing taps and central
sewage. The wash-basin provided cold running water.
17. In the evening of 16 May 2000, the applicant was relocated to Cell 49 in which he spent the next 29 days. The parties" descriptions of this cell differ.
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18. According to the applicant, this cell measured 15 m . It
housed, on average, 35 - 40 prisoners, even though it had only 20
beds. The prisoners had to take turns to sleep. Sleeping was
impossible because the lights were always on, and because the
prisoners listened to music and talked day and night. The windows
were covered with metal blinds which let through too little light.
No bedding, crockery, or cutlery was available. As the dinner
table was small, the prisoners had their meals in shifts, often
sharing the crockery with the ill. The food was hardly edible.
Cock-roaches, ants, rats, mice, and lice abounded. Hot water
supply was limited to 20 litres a day. The toilet was fixed 1.2 m
above the floor, right in front of the guards" peephole. As the
guards were mostly women, using the toilet was a humiliation. The
cell was overpopulated, and five prisoners suffered of dysentery.
Therefore, the toilet was always occupied. Once in a fortnight, a
prisoner could spend five minutes in a shower. Once a day, the
prisoners had an hour-long walk in a small yard on the roof of the
building.
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19. According to the Government, this cell measured 21.2 m .
During the applicant"s stay, the cell on average housed 22
prisoners, even though it was designed to house 10. There were two
double-glazed windows of 120 x 120 cm each. Each window had a 25 x
25 cm window leaf to ventilate the cell. In one corner of the cell
there were a toilet and a wash-basin. The toilet was fixed 25 cm
above the floor. It was separated from the rest of the cell with a
tiled wall, at least 1 m high. The toilet had flushing taps and
central sewage. The wash-basin provided cold running water. There
were no prisoners suffering from dysentery in the cell. Prisoners
suffering from intestinal infections, vermin, veneral diseases,
and acute tuberculosis were housed apart.
20. As the applicant"s health had worsened, on 14 June 2000 he was relocated to a temporary detention unit, and on 16 June 2000 - back to hospital UL-34/4. He spent the next 36 days in the somatic ward of the hospital. During this period, a cardiologist examined the applicant 13 times and treated him. As soon as the applicant"s condition had stabilised, he was discharged from the hospital.
21. On 22 July 2000, the applicant was returned to the prison and put in Cell 18 where he spent the next 2 days. The parties" descriptions of this cell differ.
22. According to the applicant, windows in this cell had no glass. Instead, they were tightly covered with halved metal tubes. Small holes in the tubes let through little light. The cell was located in the basement and had no ventilation. No bedding, crockery, or cutlery was available. The toilet was fixed 1.8 m above the floor. Next to it stood a dinner table. As the cell housed as many as 78 prisoners, the toilet and the table were always occupied, often at the same time. Smokers made non-smokers" life a misery. Whenever someone fell unconscious, guards dragged him out into the corridor for a breath of fresh air.
23. According to the Government, this cell was located in the
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ground floor and measured 23 m . During the applicant"s stay, the
cell on average housed 17 prisoners, even though it was designed
to house 10. There were two double-glazed windows of 70 x 70 cm
each. Each window had a 70 x 20 cm window leaf to ventilate the
cell. In one corner of the cell there were a toilet and a
wash-basin. The toilet was fixed 45 cm above the floor and could
be reached by a step. It was separated from the rest of the cell
with a tiled wall, at least 1 m high. The toilet had flushing taps
and central sewage. The wash-basin provided cold running water.
24. On 24 July 2000, the applicant was taken to the temporary detention unit for interrogation.
25. On 28 July 2000, he was returned to the prison and put in Cell 49 where he spent the next 4 days.
26. On 31 July 2000, the investigating authorities dropped the charges against the applicant under an amnesty law.
27. On 1 August 2000, the applicant was released.
B. The applicant"s departure from Russia
28. In January 2003 the applicant left Russia for Strasbourg. The parties" accounts of the events preceding the departure differ.
1. The applicant"s account
29. On 20 December 2002, an investigating officer of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chuvash Republic telephoned the applicant. Without naming himself, the officer invited the applicant to an interview concerning a criminal investigation. The applicant was not aware of any investigations.
30. On 21 December 2002, K., a Deputy Director of the Economic Crimes" Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chuvash Republic, telephoned the applicant. He interrogated the applicant about his application to the Court. K. hinted that the applicant had better withdraw his case from the Court, or else the police would find a pretext for a new criminal case and imprison him again.
31. On 23 December 2002, P., the Director of the Economic Crimes" Department, telephoned the applicant and invited him for an interview. During the interview, P. ordered the applicant with gestures to speak low because the room was bugged. Afraid to speak, P. wrote down all crucial phrases and showed them to the applicant. Such precaution not being enough, P. and the applicant continued their conversation in the corridor. P. told the applicant that he would start a new criminal case against him, imprison him, and let him languish to death. P. demanded the applicant to withdraw his application from the Court because it had troubled influential officials of the Chuvash Republic.
32. On 26 December 2002, the applicant"s car ran into four lorries. The applicant alleges that the accident must have been set up by his persecutors, because the traffic police ignored it.
33. The accident convinced the applicant that the threats were serious. He and his wife went to Moscow, received French tourist visas, and left for Strasbourg to seek political asylum.
34. The applicant had to leave behind his minor daughter, a student, because she had no travel documents. After the applicant"s departure, the police threatened to kill the daughter. She would have joined her parents in Strasbourg, but the parents wished her to finish the studies. As soon as the daughter had passed her first-year exams, she received a travel passport and on 13 July 2003 came to Strasbourg.
2. The Government"s account
35. On an unspecified date, D., the manager of the partnership defrauded by the applicant, requested the police to reinvestigate the applicant"s case. He asserted that the investigation had been superficial, and that the applicant had not made good the damage inflicted to the partnership.
36. In December 2002, K. and P., officers of the Economic Crimes" Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chuvash Republic, invited the applicant for an interview in connection with D."s allegation. Since the officers had failed to record D."s oral application formally, their superiors warned them.
II. Relevant council of europe documents
37. The relevant extracts from the General Reports by the European Committee for the prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ("the CPT") read as follows:
Extracts from the 2nd General Report [CPT/Inf (92) 3]
"46. Overcrowding is an issue of direct relevance to the CPT"s mandate. All the services and activities within a prison will be adversely affected if it is required to cater for more prisoners than it was designed to accommodate; the overall quality of life in the establishment will be lowered, perhaps significantly. Moreover, the level of overcrowding in a

"УСЛОВИЯ И ПОРЯДОК ПРИСОЕДИНЕНИЯ К ДОГОВОРУ О ТАМОЖЕННОМ СОЮЗЕ И ЕДИНОМ ЭКОНОМИЧЕСКОМ ПРОСТРАНСТВЕ"(Утверждены 26.02.1999 Решением 35 Межгосударственного Совета Республики Беларусь, Республики Казахстан, Кыргызской Республики, Российской Федерации и Республики Таджикистан)  »
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