ECtHR - Khanh v Cyprus (Application no. 43639/12), 4 December 2018

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Country of Applicant: 
Vietnam
Date of Decision: 
04-12-2018
Citation: 
Khanh v Cyprus (Application no. 43639/12), 4 December 2018
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights (Third Section)
Keywords: 
Headnote: 

The ECtHR ruled the conditions of the applicant’s detention, prior to her being deported from Cyprus, subjected her to hardship going beyond the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention and thus amounted to degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention.

Facts: 

The applicant, a Vietnamese national, submitted that the conditions of her detention at the police station for a period of approximately five months constituted inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

From 1 March 2012 until 25 July 2012 the applicant was detained at Limassol Police Station pending her deportation. She was deported on the later date.

She claimed that throughout her detention the women’s wing at Limassol Police Station had been overcrowded. The cells lacked fresh air and the air-conditioning/heating system did not function properly. During the duration of her detention, the temperature dropped below zero.

The detention authorities refused to bring her hygiene products and the food which was provided by an external restaurant was not compatible with her religious beliefs.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court first noted that it has previously made clear that police stations and other similar establishments are places designed to accommodate people for very short duration and are therefore not appropriate places for the detention of people who are waiting for the application of an administrative measure, such as deportation. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the national Ombudsman had both reported that the police station in question was deemed unsuitable for accommodating people for longer duration.

In terms of overcrowding, the documentation provided by the Cypriot government for the period of the applicant’s detention was incomplete, as no consistent and continuous records were kept on the precise cells in which the applicant was held and the number of detainees held in them every day. The government therefore failed to submit information capable of refuting the applicant’s allegations that the women’s wing at the police station was overcrowded and that for the greater part of her detention she was held in cells in which she had less than 3 sq. m of available space.

The Court concluded that during the relevant period the conditions of the applicant’s detention subjected her to hardship going beyond the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention and thus amounted to degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention.

 

Outcome: 

The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 3.

Other sources cited: 

Thuo v. Cyprus, no. 3869/07, 4 April 2017

Mela v. Russia, no. 34044/08, § , 23 October 2014

Mitrokhin v. Russia, no. 35648/04, 24 January 2012

Council of Europe: Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Report to the Government of Cyprus on the visit to Cyprus carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 12 to 19 May 2008, 6 December 2012, CPT/Inf (2012) 34

 

Authentic Language: 
English
State Party: 
Cyprus