Overcrowded Slovenian Prisons

The European Court of Human Rights has at the end of February delivered two judgments against Slovenia, Štrukelj v Slovenia (6011/10) and Četić v Slovenia (7054/10), both, in the already long series of judgments on the deteriorating conditions in Slovenian prisons. In Štrukelj the applicant :

…. was detained in cells 7 and 5 he had 3 or 3.26 square metres of personal space, respectively. His situation was further exacerbated by the very limited time which could be spent outside the cell. Also when held in cells 98 and 124 with 3.75 square metres of personal space, the conditions of the applicant’s detention were further exacerbated by the very limited time which he could spent outside the cell and partly also by high temperatures in the cells in the summer of 2009 (para. 23).

The Court therefore held that :

the hardship he endured appears to have exceeded the unavoidable level inherent in detention, and finds that the resulting suffering went beyond the threshold of severity under Article 3 of the Convention (para. 24).

Similarly, in Četić the Court held that :

to the cumulative effects of the conditions of the applicant’s detention in cells 2 and 129, the Court considers, as in Praznik, that the hardship he endured appears to have exceeded the unavoidable level inherent in detention, and finds that the resulting suffering went beyond the threshold of severity under Article 3 of the Convention.

Both judgments are the latest developments regarding prisoners conditions, particularly overcrowding in Slovenian prisoners. The Court found in both cases that conditions in Slovenian prisons violated the standards of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Slovenian government, however, has recently pledged to improve prison conditions, including by constructing a new prison. However, until this materializes, we can expect from the Court further similar judgments against Slovenia.

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