FIRST SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 42239/02 
by Nikolay STAROKADOMSKIY 
against Russia

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 12 January 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr C.L. Rozakis, President
 Mrs S. Botoucharova
 Mr A. Kovler
 Mrs E. Steiner
 Mr K. Hajiyev
 Mr D. Spielmann, 
 Mr S.E. Jebens, judges
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 20 September 2002,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together;

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Nikolay Anatolyevich Starokadomskiy, is a Russian national who was born in 1971 and is now detained in Moscow. The applicant is a former police officer. He is represented before the Court by Mrs E. Liptser of the International Protection Centre, a lawyer practising in Moscow. The respondent Government are represented by Mr P. Laptev, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

1.  The applicant’s arrest and alleged ill-treatment

On 31 January 1998 the applicant was arrested in Moscow. The police searched his flat, office and car. The same evening the applicant was brought to the premises of the Moscow criminal police at 38, Petrovka Street. In the corridor of the fourth floor he was allegedly forced to stand spread-eagled against the wall. He was then taken to an office where he was allegedly ill-treated and intimidated by officers of the Federal Security Service Department for the Yaroslavl Region, employees of the Moscow criminal police, investigators of the Yaroslavl prosecutor’s office and others. Finally, the applicant was taken by car to Yaroslavl, a town some 250 kilometres away from Moscow. Until the arrival he was not given food or drink or access to a toilet.

On 3 February 1998 the Yaroslavl regional prosecutor authorised the applicant’s detention on remand. On 14 April 1998 the Frunzenskiy District Court of Yaroslavl confirmed the detention order. On 12 May 1998 the Yaroslavl Regional Court, on an appeal by the applicant, upheld the District Court’s decision.

On 6 February 1998 the applicant was charged with aggravated murder.

On 3 and 10 June and 23 July 1998 the applicant complained about the alleged ill-treatment to the Moscow city prosecutor and the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

On 1 September 1998 the Preobrazhenskiy District Court of Moscow dismissed the applicant’s complaint about an extension of his detention on remand authorised by the deputy Prosecutor General. On 17 September 1998 the Moscow City Court upheld the District Court’s decision.

On 2 December 1998 an investigator of the Moscow city prosecutor’s office refused to institute criminal proceedings, noting, in particular, that:

“...for more than six months of the investigation [the applicant]... never told investigators, defence counsel or prosecutors about the use of unlawful means of investigation; no injuries had been recorded.”

In August and September 2001 the applicant sent a new round of complaints about the alleged ill-treatment to the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ombudsman and other State authorities.

On 18 October 2001 a senior investigator with the Yaroslavl regional prosecutor’s office examined the allegations and found them unsubstantiated. He noted, in particular, that there were no medical records of any injury and that the applicant’s complaints were vacuous and lacked important details, such as the forms, place and time of ill-treatment.

In 2002 the applicant sent further complaints to various State authorities. He received several responses from the Yaroslavl regional prosecutor’s office. By a letter of 5 August 2002, he was reminded that an appeal lay against the decision of 18 October 2001 to a higher prosecutor or to a court.

2.  Criminal proceedings against the applicant

(a)  Determination of the trial venue

On 19 July 1999 the Moscow city prosecutor approved the bill of indictment and the case was submitted for trial to the Moscow City Court. The applicant was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit murder and participation in a criminal enterprise. Similar charges were brought against sixteen other co-defendants.

On 5 August 1999 the Moscow City Court noted that a majority of the defendants had opted to exercise their constitutional right to a trial by jury. However, as there were no juries in the city court, it decided to send an inquiry to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation as to where the case should be tried.

On 8 September 1999 the Supreme Court referred the case to the Moscow Regional Court where juries were available.

On an unspecified date a judge of the Moscow Regional Court sent a request to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, inviting it to pronounce on the compatibility of the interpretation of the rules on courts’ jurisdiction given by the Supreme Court in its decision of 8 September 1999, with the Russian Constitution. On 17 February 2000 she suspended the proceedings pending a response of the Constitutional Court. She also held that the defendants were to remain in custody because they were “charged with criminal offences of heightened public dangerousness, classified as serious or particularly serious”.

On 13 April 2000 the Constitutional Court determined that the laws on criminal procedure did not establish grounds or the procedure for transfer of a case to a different court if the court having territorial jurisdiction over it had no jury. If several courts had territorial jurisdiction over the case, the court of the region where pre-trial investigation had been completed was competent to try it.

In pursuance of the Constitutional Court’s decision, on 14 June 2000 the Moscow Regional Court returned the case to the Supreme Court.

On 6 September 2000 the Supreme Court remitted the case to the Moscow City Court.

(b)  Trial before the Moscow City Court

On 29 September 2000 the Moscow City Court decided that the case was ready for trial and listed the first hearing for 13 October 2000. It also held that “the measure of restraint – detention on remand – in respect of... [the applicant]... had been imposed correctly; there are no grounds to change or revoke it”. The applicant and his counsel were not present at that hearing.

On 13 October 2000 the hearing was adjourned for unspecified reasons.

On 28 February 2001 the trial began.

On 5 March, 10 and 23 April, 10 and 17 May, 5 September, 15, 18 and 19 October, 2, 5, 12, 16 and 27 November and 24 December 2001 hearings were fixed and then adjourned because counsel of certain defendants did not appear.

On 16 January, 4 February, 5 March, 8 April, 7 and 24 May, 4, 6 and 10 June 2002 further hearings were adjourned owing to the absence of lawyers and/or interpreters.

On 3 July 2002 the Moscow City Court ordered an extension of the applicant’s and his co-defendants’ detention on remand for an additional three months, that is for the period from 1 July to 1 October 2002, referring to the fact that the defendants were charged with particularly serious criminal offences. On 2 April 2003 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dismissed the applicant’s appeal, finding that the trial court had authorised the extension in compliance with the applicable procedure and that the defendants could not be released from custody because they were charged with particularly serious criminal offences.

On 2 and 9 September 2002 the defendants were escorted to the courthouse, but hearings were not held for unclear reasons.

On 10 and 11 September 2002 the hearings were adjourned owing to the absence of counsel.

On 30 September 2002 the prosecution requested the court to extend the detention on remand, in respect of all defendants held in custody, until 1 January 2003. Defence counsel objected to the request. The applicant and one co-defendant petitioned for their release on an undertaking not to leave the town or for imposition of any other preventive measure. The court noted that all defendants were charged with particularly serious criminal offences and, without giving further reasons, granted the prosecution’s request. On 10 October 2002 the applicant lodged an appeal against that decision. On 12 February 2003 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation examined the appeal in the applicant’s absence and dismissed it as follows:

“It follows from the case-file that the defendants are charged with particularly serious criminal offences. The court, on a request by the prosecution... extended their detention on remand. There were no breaches of the criminal procedure provisions that could entail the quashing or amendment of the decision... The arguments in the notices of appeal in favour of an amendment of the preventive measure shall not be taken into account because the defendants are charged with particularly serious criminal offences.”

On 28 October, 5, 10, 12, 14, 18, 25 and 28 November, 9 and 11 December 2002 further hearing were listed and adjourned. In three last hearings no reasons for adjournment were given.

On 18 December 2002 the prosecution requested the court to extend the defendants’ detention until 1 April 2003. The applicant and his lawyer, among others, objected to that request. The Moscow City Court granted the request, finding that the defendants were charged with particularly serious criminal offences. No other grounds were invoked. The applicant lodged an appeal against the decision which was examined on 16 October 2003 (see below).

On 21 December 2002, 28 and 29 January, 3, 10, 17 and 25 February and 4 March 2003 hearings were adjourned owing to the absence of certain counsel.

On 11 March 2003 the applicant unsuccessfully challenged the presiding judge; five defendants were excluded from the hearing and it was adjourned.

On 12 March 2003 the applicant raised an objection to the presiding judge’s conduct; five defendants, including the applicant, were excluded from the hearing; it was postponed until 17 March.

On 17 March 2003 four defendants, but not the applicant, were returned to the courtroom; the prosecutor started reading the charge sheet.

On 18 and 19 March 2003 hearing were held; the applicant did not participate.

On 24 March 2003 the prosecution requested the court to extend the authorised period of pre-trial detention by three months, until 1 July 2003. Only two (out of 16) defendants were present. The applicant was absent. Defence counsel objected to the request. The court granted the request, reasoning, as before, that the defendants are charged with particularly serious criminal offences. The applicant lodged an appeal against the decision which was examined on 16 October 2003 (see below).

On 25 March 2003 a hearing took place in the presence of one defendant. On 26 March and 1 April 2003 the trial continued without any defendants in attendance.

On 9 April 2003 all the defendants were brought to the courtroom. The prosecutor finished reading the charge sheet. The applicant unsuccessfully challenged the presiding judge and the entire formation.

Between 14 April and 23 June 2003 sixteen hearings were listed; most of them were adjourned owing to the absence of counsel.

On 30 June 2003 the prosecution asked for an extension of the defendants’ detention on remand for three months, until 1 October 2003. The applicant, among others, objected to the request and petitioned for his release pending trial. The Moscow City Court granted the extension requested for the sole reason that the defendants were charged with particularly serious criminal offences. The applicant lodged an appeal against the decision which was examined on 16 October 2003 (see below).

On 1 July 2003 the applicant asked for a trial by a jury. His request was refused. The hearing was adjourned until 7 July.

On 7 and 15 July, 26 August, 2 and 9 September 2003 further hearings were scheduled and adjourned owing to the absence of counsel.

On 30 September 2003 the Moscow City Court, on a request by the prosecution, extended the defendants’ detention on remand until 1 January 2004, referring solely to the gravity of the charges against them.

On 16 October 2003 the Supreme Court considered the appeals against the extension orders of 18 December 2002, 24 March and 30 June 2003. Neither the applicant nor his counsel were present. The Supreme Court found that there were no violations of the criminal procedure provisions warranting amending or quashing the contested orders and that the defendants could not be released because they were charged with particularly serious criminal offences.

On 30 December 2003 the Moscow City Court, on a request by the prosecution, extended the defendants’ detention on remand until 1 April 2004, noting that “the defendants are charged with particularly serious criminal offences, they can abscond or obstruct justice”.

On 30 March 2004 the Moscow City Court, on the prosecution’s request, extended the defendants’ detention on remand until 1 July 2004, indicating that:

“...[the defendants] are charged with a series of serious and particularly serious criminal offences committed by an organised gang in conspiracy with unidentified persons, against whom separate criminal proceedings are pending, and with another person, against whom criminal proceedings were severed because his whereabouts are not known; if released, [they] can abscond or obstruct justice”.

On 22 April 2004 the Supreme Court dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the extension order of 30 September 2003 on the same grounds as before. By an interim decision, the court refused the applicant’s request for leave to appear at the appeal hearing because the appeal was conducted without a prosecutor and because the applicant’s arguments had been set out in sufficient detail in his notice of appeal.

On 1 July 2004 the Moscow City Court, on the prosecution’s request, extended the defendants’ detention on remand until 1 October 2004, reproducing verbatim the reasoning of its decision of 30 March 2004.

On 22 July 2004 the Supreme Court dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the extension order of 30 March 2004, endorsing the grounds of the trial court.

On 27 October 2004 the Moscow City Court gave judgment on the merits of the criminal charge. The applicant was found guilty and sentenced to ten and a half years’ imprisonment. An appeal against the conviction is now pending.

3.  Conditions of the applicant’s detention, transport and confinement at the courthouse

(a)  Conditions of the applicant’s detention

Since 7 May 1998 the applicant has been detained in remand centre no. 77/1 (formerly no. 48/1) of Moscow, known as “Matrosskaya Tishina”. In the Government’s submission, the applicant was held, in particular, in cells no. 274 (from 31 May 2001 to 22 November 2002, and from 5 May 2003 to 11 September 2004), 260 (from 22 November 2002 to 5 May 2003) and 243 (after 11 September 2004).

The Government submitted that cell no. 274 was designed for 8 persons and housed 5 prisoners in the period from 5 May 2003 to 11 September 2004. Cell no. 260 had 18 sleeping places and accommodated 8 prisoners in the period from 22 February 2002 to 5 May 2003. Cell no. 243 had the design capacity for 4 persons and housed 2 inmates after 11 September 2004. Windows in the cells were glazed in and gave access to natural light sufficient to read or write by. According to a sanitary certificate of 2 February 2005, all cells had a sink and a pan; in a majority of cells a concrete partition separated the pan from the living area. All prisoners had bedding and could take shower once a week.

The applicant submitted that cell no. 274 measured 16 sq. m and never housed fewer than 10 prisoners and occasionally as many as 18. Cell no. 243 measured 12 sq. m and accommodated 5 or 6 inmates. The applicant denied that he had been ever held in cell no. 260. Rather, from 22 November to 2 December 2002 he was held in the punishment cell.

As regards the conditions of detention in cells nos. 274 and 243, the applicant never had a bed he could call his own. He slept in shifts with other prisoners. Windows were not glazed but instead covered with two layers of thick bars and so-called “eyelashes”, that is slanted plates welded to a metal screen approximately 2 cm apart. In winter, prisoners stuffed blankets and mattresses in the window frame to keep the warmth inside. Cells had no ventilation whatsoever; ventilation conduits had been cemented in. Running water was cold and rusty, unfit for drinking. The lavatory pan was approximately 30 cm in height; it was not separated from the cell. The air was stale and full with smoke. In support of his submissions concerning cell no. 243, the applicant produced affidavits by his former cellmates Mr A. Shagiyev, Mr A. Glotov, Mr I. Pivaeyev, and Mr O. Ledentsov.

In the punishment cell the applicant’s warm clothing was taken away in exchange for dirty and torn overalls and trousers. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. a wooden bench was lifted and chained to the wall and there was no seating place, save for a tiny concrete post. The prayer book, law books and case documents were taken away. There was no heating and the applicant had to keep hopping around to warm up. He had no access to the shower.

The applicant claimed that he had lodged a number of complaints concerning the conditions of his detention which the facility administration had not “let out of the prison walls”.

(b)   Conditions of the applicant’s transport and confinement at the courthouse

The Government indicated that the transport of detainees was arranged by officers of the regiment for the protection and transport of suspects and defendants of the Main Directorate of the Interior of Moscow. The regiment had at its disposal a number of vans for transport of detainees: ZIL (36 seats), GAZ-3307 (24 seats), KavZ (12 seats), GAZ-2705 (8 seats) and UAZ (4 seats). Vans were equipped with ventilation outlets and benches. In 2003 the applicant was transported to the courthouse 58 times, mostly by GAZ-3307 and ZIL vans. Their design capacity was never exceeded. Vans left the remand centre between 9 and 10.40 a.m. and returned normally before 6.30 p.m. It appears from the certificate produced by the Government that on nine days the van returned to the remand centre after 9 p.m. and the average travel time on the way back amounted to three hours. The Government explained that the delays had been due to objective reasons, such as late court hearings and traffic jams.

The Government submitted that the convoy premises of the Moscow City Court consisted of three blocks of cells, each comprising 17 cells and a toilet. Cells contained benches and were equipped with ventilation and central heating. In winter the average temperature was +18-20o C. The applicant was held separately from other prisoners and could prepare his defence.

The applicant provided the following description of the 195 days when he had been taken to the courthouse:

On each occasion he was taken out of the cell at 5 a.m. and missed out on the breakfast served at 6-7 a.m. No other food or drink was made available in the remand centre because, in accordance with the established administrative practice, on the days of court hearings he was excluded from the food distribution list (снят с довольствия).

Once out of their cells, detainees were brought to the “assembly premises” (пукнт сборки). Over a hundred detainees were divided between collective and “individual” cells (бокс): 40-50 persons in a collective cell or up to 9 persons in an “individual” cell of 1.5 sq. m. Cells were dirty and had no windows or ventilation. Detainees waited for their turn until 9.30 or 10 a.m.

Prison vans were severely overcrowded and accommodated two or three times as many detainees as they had been designed for. Prisoners had to sit on each other’s lap. In winter, heating did not function.

At the courthouse of the Moscow City Court prisoners were put in thirty “convoy cells” measuring 1.5 by 1 m each. The applicant was placed in such a cell with two or three other prisoners. There was no bench, no ventilation and no natural light. The walls were covered with so-called shuba, a sort of abrasive concrete lining, designed to prevent detainees from leaning on the walls. The applicant stayed in these cells until 7 or 8 p.m. until prisoners were called back to prison vans and taken to remand centres.

(c)  Examination of the applicant’s complaints

On an unspecified date the applicant complained about inhuman conditions of transport, dearth and overcrowded prison vans.

On 26 November 2003 the head of the Moscow directorate for execution of punishments of the Ministry of Justice (the authority in charge of all remand centres in Moscow) reported on the results of an inquiry as follows:

“On leaving to the court, each prisoner receives a dry ration in his own hands and against his signature... On that day the prisoner is excluded from the food distribution list (снимается с котлового довольствия). The composition of the dry ration takes account of the sanitary and nutritional requirements and... includes pre-cooked first and second courses which do not require cooking and can be consumed as breakfast, lunch or dinner...

Prisoners are taken out of cells after 6 a.m. – in particular, for transport to courts – but not brought back to cells until 10 p.m... The Moscow directorate for execution of punishments controls the [resolution of] problems relating to the existing breaches perpetrated by the convoy regiment (belated return from the courts, overcrowded prison vans, use of unauthorised routes). On many occasions in 2002, the established breaches of the procedure for transport of prisoners were brought to the attention of the command of the police convoy regiment – mostly, because of belated return from the courts. Such incidents also took place in the first three months [of 2003]; in this connection on 4 March 2003 a notice about the belated return (after 10 p.m.) of prisoners from the courts in January and February 2003, was sent to the convoy regiment. Recently there have been no incidents of return of prisoners after 10 p.m.

The assembly premises are indeed overcrowded if there are many defendants going to the courts – up to 150 persons, whereas the assembly premises are designed... to accommodate 75 to 80 persons.”

On 10 December 2003 the Moscow city prosecutor’s office forwarded the applicant’s complaint to the commander of the convoy regiment of the Moscow police.

On 17 December 2003 the officer-in-command of the convoy regiment of the Moscow police approved the findings of an inquest into the applicant’s complaint carried out by his deputy. It was established that, contrary to the applicant’s allegations, in 2003 the design capacity of prison vans had been never exceeded. Detainees received dry rations in the remand centre but they could not use them because the convoy premises at the courthouse had had no facilities for heating or eating food and because no kitchenware had been available. The officers concluded that the applicant’s complaint had been “made up so as to have improved his conditions of detention and to provoke the convoy officers to act unlawfully”.

B.  Relevant domestic law

For a summary of domestic-law provisions on pre-trial detention, see Panchenko v. Russia, no. 45100/98, §§ 74-89, 8 February 2005; and Rokhlina v. Russia, no. 54071/00, §§ 47-58, 7 April 2005.

COMPLAINTS

1.  The applicant complained under Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention about the ill-treatment on the day of his arrest.

2.  The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention about inhuman and degrading conditions of his detention, transport and confinement at the courthouse.

3.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (b) that, while in the “punishment cell”, he had no facilities for the preparation of his defence.

4.  The applicant complained under Article 5 §§ 1 and 3 of the Convention that his detention from 1 to 3 July 2002 had not been covered by a valid detention order.

5.  Under the same Convention provision, the applicant complained about the lack of grounds for his continued detention, beyond stereotyped references to the gravity of the charges, and about the authorities’ failure to display “special diligence” in the conduct of the proceedings.

6.  The applicant complained under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention that his appeals against the detention orders of the Moscow City Court had not been examined “speedily” by the Supreme Court.

THE LAW

1.  The applicant complained under Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention about ill-treatment on the day of his arrest.

The Court notes that the most recent domestic decision relating to his complaints about the alleged ill-treatment was issued on 18 October 2001, whereas he lodged the application on 20 September 2002, that is more than six months later. Furthermore, the prosecutor’s letter of 5 August 2002 did not concern the merits of his allegations of ill-treatment but merely reminded him that he had not used the possibility of lodging a hierarchical or judicial appeal against the decision of 18 October 2001.

It follows that this complaint must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention as having been introduced out of time or for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

2.  The applicant complained that the conditions of his detention in the remand centre, transport to and from the courthouse and confinement at the courthouse had been incompatible with Article 3 which provides:

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

The Government submitted that the conditions of the applicant’s detention, transport and confinement at the courthouse had been generally compatible with Article 3.

The applicant contested the Government’s submissions as factually untrue and maintained his complaints.

The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. The Court concludes therefore that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring it inadmissible has been established.

3.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 3 (b) that the facilities for the preparation of his defence had been inadequate.

The Court notes that an appeal against the applicant’s conviction is now pending. The applicant may therefore raise this grievance in the appeal proceedings.

It follows that this complaint must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

4.  The applicant complained that his detention from 1 to 3 July 2002 had not been lawful. He relied on Article 5 § 1 of the Convention:

“1.  Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

...

(c)  the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so...”

The Government acknowledged that there had been no judicial authorisation of the applicant’s detention on remand from 1 to 2 July 2002. However, the sentence pronounced by the Moscow City Court on 27 October 2004 had taken account of that period.

The applicant took note of the Government’s admission.

The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. The Court concludes therefore that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring it inadmissible has been established.

5.  The applicant complained under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention that his detention on remand had been excessively long and lacked justification. Article 5 § 3 provides:

“3.  Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial...”

The Government submitted that there had been no violation of that Convention provision. As regards the compliance with the “reasonable time” requirement, they indicated that the charges were brought against fifteen other defendants, the case-file consisted of thirty binders and that the Constitutional Court had been asked to determine whether the case could be tried by a jury.

The applicant responded that a period of six years and nine months could by no means be considered “reasonable”. There were significant delays between hearings and the trial court took no effort to secure the attendance of interpreters and the other defendants’ legal aid counsel. The domestic authorities failed in their duty to display “special diligence” in the conduct of the proceedings. Furthermore, the courts did not give any reason for his continued detention other than the gravity of the charge.

The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. The Court concludes therefore that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring it inadmissible has been established.

6.  The applicant complained under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention about the Supreme Court’s failure to examine speedily his appeals against the detention orders. Article 5 § 4 reads as follows:

“4.  Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”

The Government submitted that on many occasions the applicant had lodged appeals against the detention orders. His appeals had been considered by the domestic courts on two levels of jurisdiction and rejected for the reason that he could abscond or interfere with justice.

The applicant replied that he had not been present or represented at the hearings before the Supreme Court on 16 October 2003 and 22 April 2004 and had not been able to advance arguments for his release. His notices of appeal were considered by the Supreme Court with a significant delay: ten months for examination of his appeal against the detention order of 18 December 2002; seven months in case of his appeal against the detention order of 30 September 2003, and four months in case of his appeal against the detention order of 30 March 2004. These periods obviously failed to meet the “speediness” requirement.

The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. The Court concludes therefore that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring it inadmissible has been established.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and declares admissible, without prejudging the merits, the applicant’s complaints concerning -

(a) the conditions of his detention at the remand centre, on the way to and from the courthouse, and at the courthouse;

(b) the lawfulness of his detention in the period from 1 to 3 July 2002;

(c) an alleged violation of his right to a trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial;

(d) an alleged violation of his right to speedy proceedings for review of the lawfulness of his detention;

Declares inadmissible the remainder of the application.

Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis 
 Registrar President

STAROKADOMSKIY v. RUSSIA DECISION


STAROKADOMSKIY v. RUSSIA DECISION