AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
by Kiril Todorov FILIPOV
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 15 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska,
Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 March 2005,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Kiril Todorov Filipov, is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1975 and lives in Sofia. He is represented before the Court by Mrs S. Stefanova and Mr M. Ekimdzhiev, lawyers practising in Plovdiv.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
1. Criminal proceedings and detention of the applicant
On an unspecified date the applicant was charged with theft. On 3 September 2004 the Plovdiv District Court ordered his remand in custody. Initially, the applicant was detained in a cell at the Regional Investigation Service in Plovdiv. In October 2004 he was transferred to Plovdiv Prison and on an unspecified later date to Sofia Prison.
On 27 October 2004 the prosecution indicted the applicant and he was brought to trial.
(a) First appeal of the applicant against his continued detention
On 26 October 2004 the applicant lodged an appeal against his continued detention on the ground that his health had deteriorated.
The appeal was examined at a regular court hearing on 9 December 2004. Taking into account the medical documents presented by the applicant, and also finding that no danger of his absconding or reoffending existed, the Plovdiv District Court ordered his release on bail.
On 14 December 2004 the prosecution appealed against this decision. The applicant was not informed of the appeal and could not comment on it.
In a closed session, on 27 December 2004 the Plovdiv Regional Court quashed the District Court’s decision and ordered the applicant’s continued detention finding, in view of his previous convictions, that he was dangerous.
(b) Second appeal of the applicant against his continued detention
On 13 January 2005 the applicant filed a new appeal against the continued detention. He pointed out that his health had deteriorated and that he could not receive adequate medical care in prison. He requested to be examined by medical doctors appointed by the court.
On 10 February 2005 the Plovdiv District Court held a hearing and decided to appoint a medical expert to examine the applicant. The expert submitted his report on an unspecified date.
On 1 March 2005 the Plovdiv District Court convicted the applicant of theft and sentenced him to four years’ imprisonment. At the same hearing, on the basis of the expert report, it dismissed his appeal against the continued detention, finding that he could be adequately treated in prison.
At the hearing of 1 March 2005, the applicant requested that the expert prepare an additional report taking into account the deterioration of his state of health after 10 February 2005. The court refused to grant the request.
On 1 April 2005 that decision was upheld on appeal by the Plovdiv Regional Court.
(c) Subsequent developments in the criminal proceedings
The applicant and the prosecution appealed against the judgment of the Plovdiv District Court of 1 March 2005.
On 10 November 2005 Plovdiv Regional Court quashed that judgment and remitted the case.
The applicant entered into a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution and accepted a sentence of three years’ imprisonment. The agreement was approved by the Plovdiv District Court on 11 January 2006.
2. Correspondence of the applicant and contacts with his counsel
On an unspecified date in November 2004 and on 12 January 2005 the applicant sent two letters to his defence counsel from Plovdiv Prison. The letters were handed to the prison administration by him in envelopes bearing the address of the lawyer, but opened, in conformity with the prison rules. The staff of the prison put a stamp “inspected” on the envelope of each letter prior to dispatching them to their destination.
According to the applicant, he could not communicate in confidence with his lawyer who visited him in the Regional Investigation Service in Plovdiv. Nor could the two confidentially exchange documents.
3. Conditions of detention
According to the applicant, the living conditions in the Plovdiv Regional Investigation Service and in Plovdiv Prison were poor and the medical care and the food provided were inadequate.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
The domestic law and practice concerning the correspondence of detainees and prisoners at the relevant time has been summarised in the Court’s judgment in the case of Petrov v. Bulgaria, no. 15197/02, §§ 17-23 and 25, 22 May 2008.
Article 5 § 4 of the Convention reads:
“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 Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of these complaints and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his [...] correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
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 that the domestic courts failed to examine speedily his appeals against the continued detention and in respect of the failure of the Plovdiv Regional Court to hold an oral hearing and to guarantee adversarial proceedings in the procedure which started on 26 October and ended on 27 December 2004, as well as concerning the applicant’s right to respect for his correspondence in prison and the alleged lack of an effective remedy in that respect;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen