AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 12066/02
by Tudor CIORAP
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 11 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Tudor Ciorap, is a Moldovan national who was born in 1965 and lives in Chisinau. He claims to be a war invalid of second degree. At present he is detained on remand.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant worked for “Social Amnesty”, an NGO specialising in offering legal help to persons deprived of their liberty. He claims that as a result of his activities, which were not appreciated by the authorities, he became the target of persecution. On 23 October 2000 he was arrested and from 6 November 2000 until the present he has been detained on remand at the remand centre of the Ministry of Justice in Chişinău. He was convicted for some crimes but is still remanded on other charges.
1. Alleged ill-treatment by the police
On 23 October 2000 the applicant was arrested by the Department for Fighting Organised Crime and Corruption and was charged with fraud in the sum of 300 United States Dollars (USD).
He alleged that he was tortured to force him to hand over materials he had gathered showing various violations of human rights by the police. The prosecutor opened a criminal investigation but concluded that the allegations were not proven. He had interviewed the applicant and all the police officers involved and their colleagues, as well as the medical personnel who had examined the applicant during his arrest. The doctors confirmed that they had been called twice to attend the applicant on the night of his arrest but that this had been in connection with a post-surgery problem.
The applicant made no complaint of ill-treatment when examined by the doctors or by the superior police officers. He did not appeal to a court against the prosecutor’s refusal to open criminal proceedings.
2. Conditions of detention
On 6 November 2000 he was transferred to the remand centre of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (“the remand centre”, also known as Prison no. 3) in Chişinău.
According to the applicant, the conditions of detention were inhuman. In particular, he invokes the overcrowding of the cells, accompanied by the fact that detainees with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis were kept together with the rest of detainees; the presence of parasitic insects; the lack of proper ventilation and of daylight; the rudimentary sanitary conditions which left no room for privacy; the loud radio that was constantly on between 07.00 and 22.00 together with the very poor quality of food served.
In two reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CPT”, in 1998 and 2001) the conditions of detention in the relevant remand centre were found not to meet the minimum requirements of Article 3 of the Convention.
The applicant complained about the conditions of detention to various authorities and mostly received negative replies.
3. Alleged lack of medical treatment
The applicant also submitted that he was not always given timely medical assistance. The documents in the file show that on very many occasions he was examined by various doctors because he swallowed various objects, cut his veins and began hunger strikes. He was also operated upon to remove objects that he had swallowed. During 2000-2001 he was operated upon 10 times.
4. An alleged unnecessary surgery
According to medical reports, on 7 November 2000 the applicant swallowed a nail and was hospitalised in order to extract it. He was subjected to X-ray examinations on 5 and 7 December 2000 and the administration of the remand centre claimed that he was again examined on 18 December 2000. All of those X-ray examinations showed a foreign object in his stomach.
On 21 December 2000 he was operated upon to extract a foreign object but the surgery did not reveal any foreign object inside the applicant. He had strongly opposed the intervention and claims that the operation aimed at rendering him incapable of protesting or requesting a prosecutor to see his state of health (as a result of the alleged ill-treatment during his arrest between 23 October and 6 November 2000).
He requested the initiation of criminal proceedings against three doctors in the remand centre who recommended his operation. On 1 October 2002 the prosecutor refused to open proceedings.
The applicant initiated proceedings claiming damages for the unnecessary surgery. On 4 June 2003 the Buiucani District Court left his action unexamined as it was not competent to deal with the case. On 12 December 2003 that decision was quashed by the Chişinău Court of Appeal, which forwarded the case to the Supreme Court of Justice in order to decide a conflict of judicial competence. On 25 February 2004 the Supreme Court of Justice found that the Buiucani District Court was competent to examine the complaint.
The case is still pending before the domestic courts.
The applicant submitted that he began a hunger strike in August-October 2001 and was force-fed a number of times during that period.
In an answer to the applicant’s lawyer, the administration of the remand centre confirmed that on 3 August 2001 he began a hunger strike and was subjected the same day to a medical examination. On 15 August he cut his veins and set himself on fire and was treated immediately. On 23 August the doctor found his state of health relatively satisfactory. On 24 August a doctor found that the applicant’s health was deteriorating and ordered force-feeding. During the following 17 days he was force-fed 7 times, including on 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10 September 2001. The force-feeding ended on 14 September 2001 and he ended his hunger strike on 4 October 2001. The feeding took place on the basis of the remand centre internal regulation.
Following the applicant’s complaint, on 13 September 2001, the duty doctor made a preliminary diagnosis: “right-sided inter-muscular inguinal hernia?” (“hernie intermusculară inguinală din dreapta?”). On 14 September 2001 a surgeon established the diagnosis: “abscess of the connection of the fore wall?” (absces de legătură a peretelui anterior?). Treatment was ordered but the applicant refused it. He submitted that, having refused treatment on 14 September 2001, he was transferred to a dark, cold and humid solitary cell with no furniture for a few days.
During the force-feeding the applicant was always handcuffed. According to the witness statement made in court by C.S., a nurse who personally witnessed the applicant’s force-feeding, all such feedings involved handcuffing, regardless of whether the detainee made any resistance. She added that the applicant did not always resist and that no handcuffing was really necessary but that the handcuffing was a mandatory procedure. She considered that procedure to be rather painful but necessary to save lives. B.A., a doctor who personally force-fed the applicant, declared that occasionally the food introduced “did not correspond to the instruction”. According to the applicant, the food caused him severe pain in his stomach some time after it had been introduced. He also submitted copies of decisions to place him in solitary cell for 10 days for beginning a hunger strike during a previous period of detention in 1994-1995.
The applicant accepts that some doctors fed him without causing too much pain, while others caused a lot of pain and it was on those occasions that he attempted to resist. V. B., a detainee in the same remand centre, gave evidence in court that he had seen blood on the applicant and on other detainees after they had been force-fed.
In October 2001 the applicant lodged a complaint about the force-feeding and about the pain and humiliation caused by that process. He described the process as follows: he was immobilised by the use of handcuffs regardless of whether he resisted. He was forced to open his mouth by pulling his hair until he could no longer bear the pain and then his mouth was fixed in open position by the use of a metal mouth-widener. His tongue was stretched outside his mouth with a pair of metal tongs which he claims left it numb and bleeding each time. A hard tube was inserted as far as his stomach through which liquidised food passed into his stomach provoking, some time later, a sharp pain. When the metal holder was removed from his mouth, he bled, he could not feel his tongue and was unable to speak.
On 4 November 2001 the Centru District Court refused to examine the complaint because it did not comply with procedural requirements. On 18 February 2002 the same court again refused to examine his complaint on the same ground. On 25 April 2002 the Chişinău Regional Court quashed that judgment and ordered a re-hearing.
On 7 November 2002 the Centru District Court rejected his claim as unfounded. It focused on the lawfulness of force-feeding and qualified his refusal to eat as a violation of the remand centre internal regulations. On 30 April 2003 the Chişinău Regional Court upheld that judgment.
On 19 April 2003 the Court of Appeal quashed the previous judgments and ordered a full re-hearing. The court noted that the lower courts had not established clearly whether the basis for the force-feeding of the applicant was medical necessity or domestic law.
On 9 October 2003 Article 33 of the Law on Remand (which had provided for the force-feeding of detainees on hunger strike) was amended to expressly prohibit the force-feeding of detainees.
On 15 February 2005 the Centru District Court rejected his claims as unfounded. It found that the law (applicable at the time), which provided for the force-feeding of detainees who refused to eat was not contrary to national or international human rights standards, aiming as it did at protecting the lives of such detainees. The applicant’s force-feeding was based on medical necessity as established by the medical personnel and his handcuffing and other restrictive measures were necessary to protect him from danger to his health and life. The court found that in view of his resistance to the force-feeding it was necessary to apply to him “special means, including handcuffs” and that it did not amount to inhuman or degrading treatment. The judgment did not mention any witness statement regarding the painful manner of force-feeding.
On 26 April 2005 the Chişinău Court of Appeal upheld that judgment, essentially repeating the reasons of the Centru District Court. The court noted that the witnesses heard by the lower court denied torturing the applicant and that there was no other evidence to support his claim.
The applicant appealed but the Supreme Court of Justice refused to examine his appeal, according to the applicant because he had not paid the court fees of 195 Moldovan Lei (MDL) (the equivalent of 12.7 euros (EUR) at the time). He requested the court to waive those fees because he had no sources of income and could not afford to pay. The court responded by a letter of 13 June 2003, explaining that his appeal:
“does not correspond to the provisions of Article 436, 437 of the Civil Procedure Code... According to Article 438 § 2 if the appeal does not correspond to the provisions of Article 437 or if the court fee has not been paid, the court returns it within 5 days under the signature of the president or the vice-president of the court. For these reasons we return your appeal for elimination of shortcomings. ... Please contact us for information on the telephone number ...”
6. Alleged abduction of the applicant’s family
The applicant also submitted that his wife and child had been abducted. The prosecution initiated their search and established that his child was with the grandparents. His wife’s whereabouts at that moment were unclear. The applicant later initiated court proceedings to oblige his wife to allow contact with his child and subsequently claims to have been visited by her in the remand centre. He did not initiate any court proceedings in this regard.
The civil proceedings against his wife (and two other persons) were discontinued because he failed to comply with procedural requirements: he did not specify her address and the addresses of the other two persons were outside the territorial jurisdiction of that court (final judgment of the Court of Appeal of 23 September 2003).
7. The 1999 amnesty and its revision in 2001
On 29 December 1999 the applicant was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment for extortion. The court absolved him from serving that sentence in view of an amnesty law which applied to participants in the military conflict in the Transdniester region (‘the conflict’). That judgment was final (‘the 1999 judgment’).
Following a prosecutor’s request at an unspecified time in 2000 that the amnesty should not have been applied to the applicant because he had been serving a sentence and could not have participated in the conflict, the Centru District Court re-opened the proceedings on 23 March 2001 and sentenced the applicant again to 7 years’ imprisonment (‘the 2001 revision’).
On 29 May 2001 the Chişinău Regional Tribunal partly quashed that judgment and reduced the punishment to 5 years. On 11 October 2001 the Court of Appeal upheld that judgment.
Having eventually gathered sufficient evidence in February 2004, a specialised State Commission confirmed his participation in the conflict. The prosecution initiated the revision of the judgment of 11 October 2001.
On 7 July 2004 the Centru District Court applied the amnesty law again. The applicant continued to be detained on the basis of another conviction for fraud (he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on 13 November 2003 and that judgment was upheld on 25 March 2003 by the Chişinău Regional Court and on 24 December 2003 by the Court of Appeal).
On 3 May 2005 he initiated proceedings claiming compensation for the “repeated conviction” in 2001. On 1 June 2005 the Râşcani District Court found in his favour and awarded him MDL 5,000 (the equivalent of EUR 330 at the time) for the non-pecuniary damage caused by the 2001 revision and by 5 months of illegal imprisonment. The applicant did not appeal.
8. Right to appear in person before the courts
The applicant introduced a number of court actions, claiming violations of his rights by various authorities and private persons.
He maintained that in a number of cases he could not appear before the courts when they examined civil actions initiated by him. The reason was, according to the applicant, a deficiency in the judicial summons system for detainees: while the courts usually announced a hearing some 6-10 days in advance, the letter would reach him sometimes 1-2 days before the hearing date and sometimes even after that date. For instance, in his action against the administration of the remand centre in which he had requested better conditions for visits by his family, the letter of the Court of Appeal stating that the case would be examined on 25 December 2003, was received on 24 December 2003. In other proceedings regarding the allegedly unnecessary surgical intervention, the Court of Appeal’s letter (about a hearing on 16 July 2003) was received on 17 July 2003.
The letters were in the form of simple announcements of the date of hearing his case, while he needed, in order to actually be brought to a hearing, a court order requesting the remanding authorities to escort him. He expressly stated that he had no lawyer to represent him and that he would be personally presenting his case and therefore he requested the courts to issue the summons in due time and to order his escort to the hearing. He received no reply to this and other similar requests.
9. Access to court
On several occasions the applicant’s court actions (see sections 5, 15 and 17) were not examined because he had failed to pay the court fee, which was in each case approximately EUR 6.
He won at least one court action and obtained damages from a newspaper found to have defamed him (judgment of 25 December 2003, EUR 126 in total). He was also compensated by the postal authorities of France and the United Kingdom (approximately EUR 55) and was able to pay for some assistance during his detention by three different lawyers.
In several letters to the domestic authorities he claimed that the court fees and other his expenses had been paid by his relatives or friends. In a letter of 25 September 2003 he asked the remand centre administration to receive the compensation from the postal authorities and to transfer it to his lawyer.
The applicant initiated court proceedings requesting a court order to oblige the Government to provide him with the financial means for initiating various court proceedings. On 18 June 2004 the Supreme Court of Justice dismissed this complaint for failure to follow the extra-judicial dispute settlement before initiating the proceedings.
10. Criminal conviction in 2003
On 28 May 2003 the Court of Appeal convicted him, by a final judgment, to a two-year term of imprisonment for fraud, upholding the lower courts’ judgments. According to the applicant, who was represented by a lawyer, the courts refused to summon a witness on his behalf and the same prosecutor acted as the public accuser at all levels of jurisdiction.
The higher courts found that they did not need to hear the witness since her position was clear from the accounting documents she had filed and coincided with statements of her superior and ample additional evidence.
11. Censorship of correspondence
The applicant further submitted that the remand centre authorities opened and read his correspondence including letters from the Parliament (e.g., letter of 10 October 2002), the Ministry of Justice (letter of 11 October 2001), the Constitutional Court (letter of 18 September 2002), the Ombudsperson (letter of 23 August 2001), the Psychiatric Hospital (letter of 16 April 2002) as well as from law-enforcement agencies such as the prosecutor’s office (e.g., letter of 11 July 2002).
He submitted copies of the letters mentioned above bearing a stamp of the remand centre and the entry date. Occasionally, the stamp is accompanied by the handwritten instruction “to be handed [to the applicant]” or by a note with his name and his detention cell number. Other letters from the same organisations bear the stamp only on the envelope.
12. Meetings with his family
The applicant submitted that except for a first visit by his family at the beginning of his detention, he communicated with them through a glass partition with holes in it. Such visits were limited to about 2 hours a month and no privacy was possible since five cabins for such visits were placed next to each other. All physical contact was excluded. Convicted persons were allowed much longer visit times in separate meeting rooms. He did not have such privileges because, while convicted for some offences, he was still on remand on other charges. He further stated that he had been denied visits by his family for long periods of time (up to a year).
He requested better conditions for visits by his family. For instance, on 21 August 2003 he asked for permission to have a longer visit and noted that his conviction had become final on 28 May 2003. This request was refused based on the “Statute of the remand centre”.
He initiated court proceedings against the administration of the remand centre requesting the right to have better visiting conditions, notably to be able to meet his family in a separate room for a longer time and without the glass wall. On 25 December 2003 the Court of Appeal rejected his claim.
On appeal he added a request for more regular visits. The Supreme Court of Justice, in its final judgment of 21 April 2004, refused to examine that additional requirement as it had not been presented to the first instance court. It also rejected the main request of better visiting conditions, invoking the security of the detainees as the reason for the glass partition.
13. Eviction of the applicant’s family from their apartment
In 1992 the Ministry of Defence gave the applicant and his family the right to rent an apartment from the State because of his participation in the conflict. In 1999 they were ordered to vacate their apartment. When they refused, court proceedings were initiated against them. On 22 June 1999 the Court of Appeal, by its final judgment, found that they should vacate their apartment because they had received the right to rent it from an authority which was not competent to offer such rental rights.
In February 2004 the applicant requested the revision of the 1999 judgment because, in adopting it, the courts had not observed a 1992 Presidential Decree and other acts giving him the right to accommodation. On 5 May 2004 that request was rejected as out of time, since the law provided that revision requests were only admissible if lodged within 3 months from knowledge of new facts and no new relevant facts had been established.
In May 2005 he initiated new proceedings claiming an apartment or its monetary value because of his participation in, and invalidity as a result of, the conflict. The Centru District Court left this action unexamined on 12 May 2005 because the applicant had failed to pay the court fees. He appealed, asking for a court fee waiver and for the right to appear before the court to prove his poor financial state. The proceedings are pending before domestic courts.
14. Defamation proceedings
The applicant initiated court proceedings since he considered that he had been defamed in several newspaper articles which suggested that he had been treated for alcoholism. On 2 December 2003 the Biucani District Court found in his favour and awarded him compensation and costs: MDL 1800 (the equivalent of approximately EUR 120 at the time) plus MDL 90 (the equivalent of EUR 6 at the time) in court fees. He did not appeal and later wrote to the Court that he did not have any claim in relation to that court action.
He also complained about a mistake in a letter written to him by the Human Rights Centre which cited the wrong article of the Penal Code as the basis for his latest prison sentence. The action against the Human Rights Centre was left without examination because it did not comply with procedural requirements (notably, he did not pay the court fee). The applicant did not appeal against that decision.
15. Searches of the office of the applicant’s NGO
The applicant submitted that the authorities illegally searched his office and seized copies of his books and other materials. The director of the NGO gave evidence in court and denied such events.
On 23 September 2003 the Chişinău Court of Appeal refused to examine his complaint because he had failed to comply with procedural requirements. In particular, he failed to pay the court fee and did not specify what items had been seized from his office, their approximate value, on which authority took the items, information which the court found to be essential for continuing the proceedings. He did not submit an amended complaint.
16. Disappearance of correspondence
The applicant finally referred to the disappearance of some of his letters he had sent to France and the United Kingdom in April 2003. Following his complaint to the postal authorities, in September 2003 he was compensated, within the limits of liability of postal carriers as established in the Universal Postal Convention, for the three letters which had disappeared. He did not initiate any court proceedings in this regard.
17. Access to information
He also claimed that he was denied access to his personal medical file and to the internal regulation of the remand centre in which he was detained.
However, in its letters (e.g. on 19 August 2002) the remand centre administration gave him and his lawyer extensive answers to all their questions, including relevant extracts from the personal medical file. The internal prison regulations are not published and are for internal use only. In a letter of 23 December 2003 a copy was exceptionally sent to the applicant.
The applicant initiated court proceedings in respect of his right of access to medical information but did not pay the court fee and his action was therefore left unexamined. His action in respect of access to the remand centre regulations was left unexamined because his action was not subject to administrative proceedings as he had claimed.
B. Relevant non-Convention material
1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) report:
In its Report on its visit to Moldova on 10-21 June 2001, the CPT wrote (unofficial translation by CPT, emphasis in original):
“61. The delegation drew the attention to the issue of contacts with the outside world for persons deprived of their liberty. A considerable number of persons have complained of the ban to correspond with their relatives and to be visited. It proved that contacts of the detainee with the outside world was left at the total discretion of the policemen and/or persons in charge of the institutions with a very restrictive attitude in this respect.
Concerning the suspects of crimes, the CPT admits that in the interest of the investigation some restrictions on the visits of certain persons may be indeed imposed. However, these restrictions should strictly be limited to the specific needs of the case and should be applied for a term as short as possible. In no way the visits of a detainee with his family friends may be prohibited for long periods of time. If there is considered to be an ongoing risk of collusion, it is preferable to authorize visits but under strict supervision; this approach should also cover correspondence with family/close friends.
The CPT recommends that the Moldovan authorities review the legal regulations and the existing practice in this field, in the light of the observations formulated above.”
2. Relevant domestic law
The relevant provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure read as follows:
Article 85. Waiver of court fees.
(1) The following are exempted from payment of court fees in civil proceedings:
a) Plaintiffs in actions:
- regarding compensation for the damage caused through bodily harm or through other harm to the health or through death;
- regarding compensation for damage caused through a crime; ...
(4) Depending on his or her financial situation, the person may be exempted by the judge (the court) from payment of court fees entirely or in part.
Article 437. Content of the recourse request
(2) The proof of payment of the court fees is to be annexed to the recourse request; the provisions of Articles 85 and 86 do not apply.”
The relevant provisions of the Law No. 1545 on compensation for damage caused by the illegal acts of the criminal investigation organs, prosecution and courts read as follows:
(1) In accordance with the present law, individuals and legal entities are entitled to compensation for the moral and pecuniary damage caused as a result of:
a) illegal detention, illegal arrest, illegal indictment, illegal conviction;
b) illegal search carried out during the investigation phase or during trial, confiscation, levy of a distraint upon property, illegal dismissal from employment, as well as other procedural acts that limit the person’s rights;
A person shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the present law when one of the following conditions is met:
a) the pronouncement of an acquittal judgment;
b) the dropping of charges or discontinuation of an investigation on the ground of rehabilitation; ...”
The relevant provisions of domestic law concerning detainees’ correspondence have been set out in the case of Meriakri v. Moldova ((striking out), no. 53487/99, §§ 17-24, 1 March 2005).
1. The applicant complains under Article 3 of the Convention about inhuman and degrading conditions of detention in the remand centre.
2. He additionally complains under Article 3 about his force-feeding and about the manner in which that feeding took place.
3. He complains, also under Article 3, about an allegedly unnecessary operation on him.
4. He complains under Article 6 § 1 about the length of proceedings regarding his force-feeding and the surgical intervention.
5. He further complains under Article 6 § 1 about the violation of his right to access to court in the proceedings regarding his force-feeding.
6. The applicant complains about censorship of his correspondence by the remand centre authorities, contrary to his right to respect for his correspondence under Article 8 § 1 of the Convention.
7. He also complains under Article 8 § 1 about the inability to meet his family for long periods of time and the impossibility of meeting them in private or to have any kind of physical contact with them.
8. The applicant complains under Article 10 § 1 about being unable to access the text of the internal regulations of the remand centre.
9. He finally makes a number of additional complaints: under Article 2 (alleged abduction of his family); under Article 3 (alleged torture by the police and lack of medical assistance); under Article 6 § 1 (the fairness of the 1999 proceedings resulting in the eviction of his family from their apartment and of those resulting in his conviction for another offence in 2003, as well as the requirement to pay court fees in respect of his complaint about access to information and about searches of his office, the length of proceedings relating to his force-feeding and surgical intervention together with his inability to personally attend court hearings and present his cases and the fairness of the 2001 revision proceedings); under Article 8 § 1 (defamation proceedings, a search of his office, disappearance of some of his correspondence, as well as access to personal medical information).
1. The applicant complains under Article 3 of the Convention (inhuman conditions of detention and force-feeding), under Article 6 § 1 (access to court in regard to his force-feeding) and under Article 8 (censorship of correspondence, the right to meet his family in private) and under Article 10 about access to the internal regulations of the remand centre.
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the file, determine the admissibility of these complaints and that it is, therefore, necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 3 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
2. He also complains under Article 2 of the Convention about the alleged abduction of his wife and child by the authorities.
The Court notes that at his request a criminal investigation was initiated, which revealed the location of his child and that later his wife was also found and visited him in prison. There is no evidence to undermine these conclusions and the applicant does not dispute them. Moreover, he did not initiate court proceedings in this respect.
Accordingly, the Court concludes that the complaint under Article 2 of the Convention is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention.
3. The applicant additionally complains under Article 3 of the Convention about an allegedly unnecessary surgical intervention on him.
The Court notes that the applicant initiated court proceedings claiming compensation for the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused by that intervention and that those proceedings are still pending. There is at present nothing to suggest that these proceedings are not effective remedies and therefore the Court considers this complaint premature. It follows that this complaint must be rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
4. He further complains that he was tortured by the police upon his arrest on 23 October 2000. He complained about the ill-treatment to the Prosecutor, who on 29 January 2001 refused to open criminal proceedings after a detailed and serious investigation into those allegations. The applicant did not challenge that refusal in court.
The Court notes that this application was lodged on 25 December 2001, that is 11 months after the Prosecutor’s decision. Even assuming that he had no effective remedies to exhaust, this complaint was introduced outside the time-limit set by Article 35 § 1 of the Convention and must be rejected as inadmissible pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.
5. The Court has examined the remainder of the applicant’s complaints under Article 3 (insufficient medical assistance in the remand centre), Article 6 § 1 (the fairness of the 1999 proceedings resulting in the eviction of his family from their apartment and of those resulting in his conviction for another offence in 2003, as well as the requirement to pay court fees when initiating civil proceedings, the length of proceedings relating to his force-feeding and surgical intervention together with his inability to personally attend court hearings and present his cases and the fairness of the 2001 revision proceedings) and under Article 8 § 1 (defamation proceedings, a search of his office, disappearance of some of his correspondence and access to personal medical information).
However, having regard to all the material in its possession, it finds that these complaints do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaints concerning the conditions of his detention, his force-feeding, the fairness of the 2001 revision proceedings, the right to appear in person before civil courts, the censorship of his correspondence and the right to meet in private with his family;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza
CIORAP v. MOLDOVA DECISION
CIORAP v. MOLDOVA DECISION