The Committee Against Torture has filed a complaint to the European Court under the case of Olga Gavrilova


30 November 2007

Experts of the Interregional department of the Committee Against Torture protest against such a strict prevention measure for Olga Gavrilova as arrest. You may remember that a 20-year-old Olga Gavrilova, who is mentally deficient and has a serious medical condition, since August, i.e. for more than three months has been kept in a Nizhny Novgorod SIZO (pretrial detention center). In such isolation it is very hard for the girl to practice good hygiene; according to the girl she has fallen ill with acute conjunctivitis. The complaint of the Committee to the European Court states that the arrest of Olga Gavrilova, taking into account all the circumstances, can be considered as inhuman treatment.

In its precedent case decisions the European Court of Human Rights repeatedly notes, that arguments for and against the arrest should not be general and abstract. Domestic courts should not ignore personal information about the person suspected or accused, his or her age, condition of health, family status, occupation etc. In addition, according to the Court’s practice, if there had been sufficient reasons for placing a person into custody, but these reasons became then insufficient in the course of time, the authority should reconsider its decision. Especially since Russian laws provide for a number of alternatives to custody – house arrest, for example. And in certain instances, when the condition of health of a detainee is inconsistent with the arrest, the European Convention may impose an obligation on the State to release this person subject to certain conditions.

The European Court has many times stated that decisions of Russian courts to place a person into custody as a preventive measure – that is a limitation of one of the most fundamental human freedoms – are made using stereotype clichés, without looking deep into the matter.

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