The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

European Court of Human Rights awards €5,000 in moral damages to prison inmate

Wednesday, 14 November 2018, 17:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

The European Court of Human Rights has awarded an inmate at Corradino Correctional Facility €5,000 in moral damages for the absence of a remedy for complaints about detention conditions, but dismissed his claim for inhuman and degrading treatment.

Former police officer Jean Pierre Abdilla had been jailed for 16 years and fined €40,000 in 2009 after a jury found him guilty of drug-related charges.

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Abdilla had applied to the European Court of Human Rights in 2015, claiming a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment and require the availability of an effective remedy before a national authority.

He argued that the prison environment was squalid and unsanitary and that he suffered extremes of temperature in his cell.

In its judgement, which was made final on 17 October, the ECHR found a breach of Article 13. Referring to previous case law involving Malta, the court said that the Maltese government should introduce a proper administrative or judicial remedy “capable of ensuring the timely determination of such complaints, and where necessary, to prevent the continuation of the situation but no new remedy has yet been put in place.”

The European court judges found that Abdilla had no effective remedy available to his complaint concerning the conditions of his detention.

However, it dismissed Abdilla’s claim that the conditions amounted to degrading and inhuman treatment, saying that “the overall conditions of detention of the applicant did not subject him to distress or hardship of an intensity exceeding the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention.”

Lawyer Yanika Bugeja was legal counsel to Abdilla.  

 

 

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