(Application no. 77018/01)
29 January 2009
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Polyakov v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Peer Lorenzen, President,
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 6 January 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. The applicant's arrest and alleged ill-treatment
- on an unspecified date he had bought a large quantity of heroin and on 19 October 1999 sold it to Ms U;
- on an unspecified date he had bought a large quantity of heroin and on 21 October 1999 he attempted to sell it to Ms U, but the police stopped him.
i) the statements by the officers who arrested the applicant on 21 October 1999. They stated that on 19 October 1999 they had arrested Ms U, performed a search on her person and seized a large quantity of drugs. Ms U claimed that she had just bought the drugs from the applicant and offered to assist the officers in the applicant's arrest. She called the applicant on the telephone and asked for drugs. The applicant agreed and fixed a meeting for 21 October 1999. The police arrested the applicant at that meeting, performed a search on his person and seized a large quantity of drugs;
ii) the deposition by Ms U made during the pre-trial investigation in which she confirmed the statements made by the officers. In her oral testimony at the trial Ms U retracted her earlier deposition;
iii) the statements by eyewitnesses who were present during the applicant's arrest and search on 21 October 1999 and who testified that a large quantity of drugs had been seized from the applicant;
iv) the depositions by an attesting witness, Ms S, who was present at the arrest of Ms U on 19 October 1999. In her depositions made during the pre-trial investigation Ms S confirmed the statements by the police officers. However, at the trial she partly retracted them, claiming that she had not heard Ms U mention the applicant's name and that she had signed a blank sheet of paper which was later filled in by the police;
v) the reports on the applicant's and Ms U's arrest and search;
vi) the expert reports confirming that the substances seized from the applicant and Ms U were heroin;
vii) the report on the medical examination of the applicant, according to which the applicant was in a state of drug intoxication.
“[T]he court arbitrarily refused the defence's application to examine as witnesses Ms Y, Ms R, Ms B and three other persons who could confirm [the applicant's] alibi, namely the fact of his presence at home between noon and 3 p.m. on 19 October 1999. That refutes his involvement in the offences of which he has been charged by the prosecution on the basis of Ms U's pre-trial statement made under duress...No other evidence of the applicant's guilt has been adduced...”
On 21 February 2001 the Moscow City Court upheld the trial judgment. It did not address the trial court's refusal to hear witnesses on the applicant's behalf.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 3 (d) OF THE CONVENTION
“3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(d) ...to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;...”
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 29 January 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen