KIREYEVA v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

THIRD SECTION
DECISION
Application no. 48159/17
Yelena Anatolyevna KIREYEVA
against Russia

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 3 September 2019 as a Committee composed of:

Alena Poláčková, President,
Dmitry Dedov,
Gilberto Felici, judges,
and Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 3 July 2017,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

PROCEDURE AND FACTS

1.  The applicant, Ms Yelena AnatolyevnaKireyeva, is a Russian national, who was born in 1978 and lives in Rostov-on-Don. She was represented by Mr S. Gritsko, a lawyer practicing in Rostov-on-Don.

2.  The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr M. Galperin, Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights.

3.  The applicant’s complaints under Article 3 and Article 5 § 3 of the Convention were communicated to the Government on 23 November 2017.

4.  The applicant was accused of fraud. On 18 November 2016 she signed a bind-over not to leave the place of residence and to appear upon summons.

5.  Between 13 March and 11 April 2017 the applicant failed to appear, on multiple occasions, upon summons from the investigator. She alleged that her three minor children were ill and she could not leave home.

6.  On 27 March 2017 the investigator came to the applicant’s place of residence and served documents on the applicant in a car beside her house. The investigator offered to provide temporary care for the children for the duration of the necessary investigative measures. The applicant refused considering the offer as a threat to her children’s liberty. She alleged that her children could not leave home due to their state of health and she had nobody else to take care of them.

7.  The investigator contacted the children’s doctor who confirmed that the children had a cold and no fever, therefore they could leave home. Children’s welfare services confirmed that the applicant had relatives (the children’s grandparents) who could take care of the children.

8.  At the pre-trial stage of the proceedings the applicant, on several occasions, informed the investigator that she could only participate in the investigative measures on the dates chosen by her and only for a short period of time.

9.  On 20 April 2017 a court placed the applicant into pre-trial detention relying on the existence of a reasonable suspicion of her involvement in an aggravated criminal offence, an intentional violation of the previous restraint measure under the pretext of the children’s illness, the applicant’s attempts to drag the procedure and the existence of a risk of her absconding. The latter was confirmed, in particular, by the fact that the applicant’s co‑accused, who is also her husband and her children’s father, had absconded and was placed on a wanted persons list.

10.  At the court hearings on 20 April and 17 May 2017, where the pre‑trial detention was ordered and then extended, the applicant was placed into a safety cabin which the applicant describes as a metal cage.

11.  The most recent detention order authorising the applicant’s detention was issued on 17 May 2017. The parties did not provide any other documents related to the case to conclude that the pre-trail detention was extended further.

THE LAW

A.    Complaint under Article 3 of the Convention (use of metal cages in courtrooms)

12.  The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that her placement into a metal cage at the court hearings on 20 April and 17 May 2017 amounted to degrading treatment. This Convention provision reads as follows:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

13.  The Government argued that the applicant had been placed behind a metal barrier with wide glass partition and that the circumstances of her confinement did not violate her rights under Article 3.

14.  Having examined all the materials before it, in particular the observations and photographs submitted by the Government, the Court notes that on 20 April and 17 May 2017 the applicant was placed in a glass cabin and not in a metal cage.

15.  The Court has previously concluded that the placement of defendants behind glass partitions or in glass cabins does not in itself involve an element of humiliation sufficient to reach the minimum level of severity, as is the case with metal cages. This level may be attained, however, if the circumstances of their confinement, taken as a whole, would cause them distress or hardship of an intensity exceeding the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention (see YaroslavBelousovv. Russia, nos. 2653/13 and 60980/14, § 125, 4 October 2016).

16.  Unlike in the YaroslavBelousov case (cited above), the applicant did not mention overcrowding or any other issue with regard to the conditions of her confinement in the glass cabin.

17.  In view of the above, the Court finds that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

B.     Complaint under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention

18.  The applicant also raised a complaint under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, having argued that there had been no reason to place her into pre-trial detention as she had to take care of three minor children and would not have absconded. Article 5 § 3 of the Convention reads as follows:

“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be … entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”

19.  The Government argued that the decisions which extended the applicant’s detention had been based on relevant and sufficient reasons and complied with the requirements of Article 5 § 3.

20.  Having examined all the materials before it, the Court considers that for the reasons stated below, the respondent Government cannot be held liable for the alleged violations of the Convention.

21.  The Court notes that the authorisation and extension of the applicant’s detention resulted from her having violated the initial written undertaking, including that of taking part in the investigation. Authorising the applicant’s arrest, the domestic court took into consideration her repeated failure to appear upon the investigator’s summons under the pretext of the children’s illness, the children’s state of health and the investigator’s attempts to satisfy the needs of the children. The Court is convinced by the domestic courts’ analysis of the case. It also notes that the parties submitted to the Court the extension of detention orders which covered a period till 5 November 2017, i.e. less than seven months of pre‑trial detention, no other extension orders or information was submitted.

22.  With a view to the materials in its possession and a relatively short period of detention, the Court is satisfied that the domestic courts duly examined all the pertinent factors and gave “relevant” and “sufficient” reasons to justify the applicants’ continued detention. The Court also finds that the domestic authorities displayed “special diligence” in the conduct of the proceedings (see, for example, Khloyev v. Russia, no. 46404/13, §§ 96‑107, 5 February 2015; Topekhin v. Russia, no. 78774/13, 10 May 2016; Sopin v. Russia, no. 57319/10, 18 December 2012; and Isayev v. Russia, no. 20756/04, 22 October 2009).

23.  It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on 26 September 2019.

Stephen Phillips                                                 Alena Poláčková
Registrar                                                             President

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