Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 10.06.2010 «Дело Мухутдинов (mukhutdinov) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF MUKHUTDINOV v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 13173/02)
JUDGMENT*
(Strasbourg, 10.VI.2010)
____________________________
*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 Mukhutdinov v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Christos Rozakis, President,

Nina {Vajic}*,

____________________________
*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Anatoly Kovler,

Khanlar Hajiyev,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens,

George Nicolaou, judges,

and {Soren} Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 20 May 2010,

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

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 13173/02) 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 Albert Narikhmanovich Mukhutdinov ("the applicant"), on 26 June 2000.

2. The applicant was represented by Ms O.A. Sadovskaya, a lawyer practising in the town of Nizhniy Novgorod. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr P. Laptev, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. The applicant complained about the outcome of the criminal case against him and his inability to take part in the supervisory-review hearing. The applicant alleged that the conditions of his detention in various detention facilities pending criminal proceedings from September 1998 to January 2002 had been appalling. He also alleged that the prison authorities had restricted his communication with the Court and that the domestic authorities had denied him an opportunity to participate in the civil proceedings brought against him by the victims. In his letter of 25 April 2006 the applicant also complained about the allegedly unlawful composition of the trial court.

4. On 4 November 2005 the President of the First Section decided to communicate to the Government the complaints concerning the conditions of the applicant's detention, his inability to take part in the proceedings before the Supreme Court on 24 October 2001 and the alleged unfairness of the civil proceedings for damages brought against him by the victims. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3).

THE FACTS
I. The circumstances of the case
5. The applicant was born in 1969 and lived in the town of Kazan of the Republic of Tatarstan.

6. The applicant is currently serving his sentence of imprisonment in penitentiary facility ZhKh-385/5 in the Republic of Mordoviya.

A. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
7. On 29 August 1998 the applicant was detained on suspicion of having committed a number of serious crimes.

8. By a judgment of 11 June 1999 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan, consisting of two lay assessors and a professional judge, convicted the applicant of murder, affray, abuse of office, a traffic offence and illegal use of firearms. The court sentenced the applicant to twenty-one years of imprisonment. The conviction was based on various items of evidence including testimony from a number of witnesses and expert examinations. It does not appear that the applicant challenged the participation of the two lay assessors sitting in the trial court in his case.

9. The applicant appealed against the judgment, having maintained that the proceedings had been unfair and that he had not been guilty of the crimes in question. The applicant did not challenge the participation of the lay assessors.

10. On 18 January 2000 the Supreme Court of Russia examined and rejected appeals lodged by the applicant and his counsel against the judgment of 11 June 1999. On the same day the judgment came into force.

11. On 21 September 2001 the Deputy Prosecutor General lodged a special appeal with the Presidium of the Supreme Court. In the appeal he argued that the lower courts had erred in the application of the domestic law and invited the Presidium of the Supreme Court to reduce the applicant's overall sentence of imprisonment.

12. On 24 October 2001 the Presidium of the Supreme Court of Russia examined the Deputy Prosecutor's special appeal and reopened the applicant's criminal case by way of supervisory review. Having examined the case, the Supreme Court on the same date upheld the conviction, but reduced the applicant's sentence by one year.

13. The applicant was not notified of that hearing or given an opportunity to participate.

14. The applicant was notified about the decision of 24 October 2001 by letter of 1 November 2001.

B. Conditions of the applicant's detention
15. In his application form the applicant submitted that he had been detained in pre-trial detention facilities IZ-16/1 and IZ-16/2 in the town of Kazan. Thereafter he was transferred to remand prison IZ-77/3 in Moscow and remained there until February 2000. After his criminal case had been heard on appeal by the Supreme Court, the applicant was transferred through prisons situated in Kazan, Ekaterinburg, and Krasnoyarsk to penitentiary establishment UK-272/3 in Irkutsk.

16. The applicant submitted in respect of the above-mentioned detention facilities that the conditions had been appalling, that cells had been overcrowded and that there had been a lack of fresh air and sleeping space.

17. The Government submitted that from 9 to 24 September 1998, 5 October to 29 November 1998, 29 January to 5 September 1999, as well as from 8 to 16 February 2000, the applicant had been held in pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/2 situated in the town of Kazan. From 28 December 1998 to 29 January 1999 he was detained in pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/1, also located in the town of Kazan. Between 7 September 1999 and 7 February 2000, the applicant was held in IZ-77/3 in the city of Moscow. From 18 February to 1 March 2000 the applicant was detained in pre-trial detention centre IZ-66/1 in the town of Ekaterinburg. On 5 March 2000 the applicant was held in pre-trial detention centre IZ-24/1 in the town of Krasnoyarsk. Between 14 March 2000 and 16 January 2002 the applicant was detained in penitentiary establishment UK-272/3 located in the town of Irkutsk. Since 16 January 2002 the applicant has been serving his sentence of imprisonment in penitentiary establishment ZhKh-385/5 in the Republic of Mordoviya.

18. The applicant essentially did not contest these dates and locations.

1. Pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/2
19. The Government submitted the following information in respect of pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/2 in the Republic of Tatarstan. The applicant was held in cell No. 60 measuring 23 square metres and containing six sleeping places; cell No. 4/3 measuring 7.8 square metres and containing two sleeping places; cell No. 13 measuring 19.9 square metres and containing six sleeping places; cell No. 2/4 measuring 7.8 square metres and having two sleeping places; cell No. 52 measuring 24.9 square metres and containing six places. The Government did not specify the dates on which the applicant had been held in these cells.

20. The applicant did not contest this description, but submitted that the facility was heavily overcrowded.

2. Pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/1
21. As regards pre-trial detention centre IZ-16/1 located in the Republic of Tatarstan, the Government submitted that the applicant had been held in cell No. 125 measuring 39.6 square metres and containing ten sleeping places.

22. According to the applicant, the cell had twenty sleeping places for thirty-five inmates.

3. Pre-trial detention centre IZ-77/3
23. As to pre-trial detention centre IZ-77/3 in the city of Moscow, the Government submitted that the applicant had been detained in cells No. 508 and 525, each measuring 32 square metres and designed to contain thirty-two sleeping places.

24. The applicant agreed with this description, having argued that it only confirmed his allegations.

4. Pre-trial detention centre IZ-66/1
25. The Government submitted in respect of pre-trial detention centre IZ-66/1 in the town of Sverdlovsk that the applicant was held in cell No. 152 measuring 29 square metres and containing twelve sleeping places; cell No. 704 measuring 16.6 square metres and containing four sleeping places; cell No. 711 measuring 19 square metres and containing six sleeping places; and cell No. 710 measuring 17 square metres and containing four sleeping places.

26. According to the applicant, the Government's data relating to the number of inmates in the cells was wrong in that the cells had usually contained three to four times more people than there were sleeping places.

5. Pre-trial detention centre IZ-24/1
27. The Government submitted that in IZ-24/1 in the town of Krasnoyarsk the applicant had been held in cell No. 22 designed to contain 28 sleeping places.

28. The applicant submitted that in cell No. 22 there had been 40 inmates.

6. Penitentiary establishment UK-272/3
29. The Government submitted that in UK-272/3 in the town of Irkutsk the applicant had been part of team No. 10 and had been held in a cell measuring 46 square metres and containing up to thirteen persons.

30. The Government submitted a certificate dated 23 September 2000 and issued by the prison administration, according to which the housing capacity of the facility amounted to 1,252 inmates. At the same time, the certificate stated that there were 1,375 inmates in the prison grouped into ten teams on that date.

31. The applicant disagreed with the Government's calculations and submitted that the cell had contained at least twenty-eight persons. He further argued that the overcrowding of the cell in question had been obvious, since the documents submitted by the Government indicated ten teams in UK-272/3 for an overall number of 1,357 inmates. In the applicant's view, on the assumption that all teams were of the same size, the figure showed that there had been around 137 persons per team.

7. General comments of the parties
32. The Government argued that the conditions of the applicant's detention had been satisfactory and that the applicant, as a former law-enforcement officer, had been kept in special cells throughout his detention on remand. At the same time, they submitted that the original documentation in this connection had been destroyed owing to the expiry of time-limits for storage in August 2004.

33. The Government relied on the statements of prison officials P, B, Pe and K in respect of IZ-16/2, prison officials Sh and T in respect of IZ-16/1 and prison officials B, Ya, O, G, Ba and Yash in respect of IZ-66/1, confirming that the applicant's cells during his stay there had not been overcrowded.

34. The applicant disagreed and submitted that all the facilities mentioned had been seriously overcrowded during his stay there. He also disagreed with the Government's allegation that he had been kept in special cells for former law-enforcement officials throughout his detention on remand. He provided the Court with the supporting hand-written statements of the following persons who had been detained along with him.

35. On 3 April 2006 Mr S.N. gave a statement, in which he confirmed that prisons in Irkutsk (in particular, UK-272/3 in November - December 1998), Astrakhan, Volgograd, Perm, Vologda, Ekaterinburg (IZ-66/1) and Novosibirsk were all overcrowded.

36. On 3 April 2006 Mr U.K. gave a statement, in which he confirmed that the pre-trial detention centre in Ekaterinburg (IZ-66/1) had been overcrowded and that the inmates had to sleep taking turns.

37. The applicant also submitted that the following persons could confirm his submissions about UK-272/3: Mr I.S., Mr D.T., Mr A.S., Mr M.M., Mr S.K., Mr V.Kh., Mr N.B. and Mr N.R.

C. Civil case of the victims against the applicant
38. It appears that on 14 December 2000 S. and Kh., the victims in the applicant's criminal case, sued the applicant for damages in connection with the murder charge.

1. First-instance proceedings
39. By letter of 19 December 2000 judge S. informed the head of the prison administration of UK-272/3 ("the prison authority") about these claims, forwarded a copy of the plaintiffs' statement of claim to the applicant for information and requested the head of the prison administration to seek the applicant's comments on the plaintiffs' claims.

40. It does not appear that the statement of claim forwarded to the applicant was accompanied by copies of supporting documents.

41. According to the Government, between 3 and 5 January 2001 the prison authority apprised the applicant of the content of the claims.

42. According to the applicant, he was allowed to read the claims, but was not allowed to have prolonged access to the document or to have a copy.

43. The applicant submitted that the authority had asked him to indicate his agreement to answer in writing. It appears that the statement of claim was put into the applicant's personal prison file to which he had no free access.

44. The applicant submitted that he had drafted a response to the claims on 5 January 2001. He disagreed with the list of items lost and destroyed as a result of his criminal activity and also disagreed with the plaintiffs' assessment of their value. In his response, the applicant also specifically requested the civil court to provide him with copies of the documents in its case file.

45. According to the Government, this response was dispatched on 11 January 2001.

46. On 5 February 2001 the Soviet District Court of the town of Kazan, having heard representations from the plaintiffs' counsel, gave a judgment in respect of the civil claims of the applicant's victims. The court decided to order the applicant and the co-accused jointly to pay the three plaintiffs 2,900, 135,899 and 85,809 roubles respectively (around 108, 5,087 and 3,212 euros respectively), in damages and for legal costs and expenses.

47. The court reiterated that as a result of the applicant's criminal actions the son of one of the plaintiffs had been kidnapped and killed. The court listed the clothes worn by the victim on that day as well as the funeral expenses, and made an assessment of the non-pecuniary damage inflicted by the applicant. The list of personal belongings