The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”)


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF YARNYKH AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 18607/17 and 5 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
28 July 2022

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Yarnykh and Others v. Russia,

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

Darian Pavli, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Mikhail Lobov, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 2 June 2022,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.

2. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

3. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

4. The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention, which were incompatible with their disabilities and that there was no effective remedy in that regard.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

5. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 3 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicants complained about the poor conditions of their detention, aggravated by the seriousness of their medical problems and that they had no effective remedy in this connection. They relied on Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention, which read as follows:

Article 3

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

Article 13

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority …”

7. The Court notes that the applicants who suffer from various disabilities, were, kept in detention in poor conditions which did not satisfy their special needs. The details of the applicants’ detention are indicated in the appended table. The Court refers to the principles established in its case‑law regarding conditions of detention of disabled inmates (see, for instance, Topekhin v. Russia, no. 78774/13, §§ 78‑81, 10 May 2016, and Butrin v. Russia, no. 16179/14, §§ 46‑51, 22 March 2016). It reiterates in particular, that where the authorities decide to place and keep a disabled person in detention, they should demonstrate special care in securing detention conditions which correspond to the special needs resulting from his disability (see Butrin, cited above § 49; Semikhvostov v. Russia, no. 2689/12, § 72, 6 February 2014; Zarzycki v. Poland, no. 15351/03, § 102, 12 March 2013; and Farbtuhs v. Latvia, no. 4672/02, § 56, 2 December 2004)

8 In the cases of Topekhin, Butrin and Semikhvostov (all cited above), the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

9. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the conditions of the applicants’ detention, exacerbated by their physical impairments, amount to “inhuman and degrading treatment” within the meaning of the Convention.

10. The Court further notes that the applicants did not have at their disposal an effective remedy in respect of these complaints (see, among other authorities, Butrin, cited above, §§ 43-45, and Semikhvostov, cited above, §§ 61‑68).

11. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention.

III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

12. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

13. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Butrin, cited above, §§ 72-74, and Semikhvostov, cited above, §§ 88-90), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

14. The Court further considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention on account of the applicants’ detention in poor conditions and the lack of an effective remedy in that connection;

4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default during the default period plus three percentage points.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 28 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                    Darian Pavli
Acting Deputy Registrar                   President

_____________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention
(conditions of detention of disabled inmates and lack of any effective remedy in domestic law)

No. Application no.
Date of introduction
Applicant’s name
Year of birth
Type of disability Detention with disability: facility and periods Specific grievances Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant
(in euros)[i]
1. 18607/17
10/05/2017
Grigoriy Mikhaylovich YARNYKH
1957
Amputated leg IK-5 Belgorod Region
17/11/2014 to 09/11/2017
2 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 24 day(s)
Lack of a wheelchair and other special items which had been prescribed on 17/11/2014; the applicant had to often use stairs which given his condition was extremely difficult and he had to always ask for assistance by inmates; allegedly owing to the absence of wheelchair he developed groin hernia. 15,000
2. 18638/17
18/05/2017
Valeriy Ivanovich ROVAKA
1964
Cerebrovascular disease, frail legs, right-sided hemiparesis IK-5 Belgorod Region
10/10/2013 to 12/03/2019
5 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 3 day(s)
The applicant is unable to take care of himself (e.g. to change and wash his clothes, to cook food necessary for his medical condition, as he is not provided with it by the colony authorities; he also needs regular clyster). No assistance provided; the applicant’s inmates took care of him. 15,000
3. 29432/18
23/05/2018
Dmitriy Leonidovich NEPRIZVANOV
1981
Astasia-abasia, (inability to stand and walk unaided); wheelchair-bound IK-13 OIU-1 Perm Region and Prison hospital no. 59 in Perm
18/04/2017 to 22/11/2018
1 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 5 day(s)
Inability to visit canteen and toilet on a regular basis due to his ailments, use of a plastic bottle to urinate and relying on inmates always to use toilet; lack of appropriate assistance from medical personnel of the colony in his daily needs; inability to freely move around the territory of the facility, including for a visit to the colony’s medical unit. 15,000
4. 34070/18
27/06/2018
Maksim Ivanovich LANTSOV
1981
Right leg amputated IK-2 Zabaykalskiy Region; Hospital no. 1 IK-5 Zabaykalskiy Region
16/06/2017 to 07/05/2018
10 month(s) and 22 day(s)
The applicant was not provided with an artificial limb during all that time, or walking stick, or crutches, or special footwear, thus his mobility was severely restricted during the indicated period; he relied on assistance of inmates to walk around, etc. 15,000
5. 38264/18
24/06/2018
Dmitriy Valentinovich BAKUMENKO
1971
Blindness IK-2 Zabaykalskiy Region
30/12/2014 to 29/09/2018
3 year(s) and 9 month(s)
Lack of equipment and assistance necessary for a blind detainee; generally poor conditions of detention with overcrowding; lack of proper hygienic facilities, aggravated by the applicant’s health status. 15,000
6. 31863/19
29/05/2019
Vladimir Mikhaylovich TIKHONKIKH
1968
Paraplegia IK-2 Zabaykalskiy Region
22/10/2015 to 19/12/2018
3 year(s) and 1 month(s) and
28 day(s)
In absence of a wheelchair the applicant had to ask other prisoners to help him to move and to use toilet, shower facilities, canteen, etc. 15,000

[i] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.

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