by Valērijs KUZEĻEVS
European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on
5 May 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Ann Power, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 30 June 2003,
Having regard to the decision to grant priority to the above application under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court.
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Valērijs KuZeļevs, is a Latvian national who was born in 1968 and lives in Rīga. The Latvian Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, Mrs. I. Reine.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On an unspecified date the applicant was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
On 14 June 2002 the applicant started a special anti-HIV therapy. The therapy was provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge. For the purposes of the therapy, the applicant had to agree that he would take the medicine prescribed for him on a regular basis. Otherwise, the therapy would be stopped. The applicant was obliged to collect a new supply of the medicine every 30 days at the Infectology Centre of Latvia (Latvijas Infektoloģijas centrs).
On 12 August 2002 the applicant received a supply of the medicine for 30 days.
On 11 September 2002 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of having committed theft. He was placed in the Temporary Detention Unit of the Dobele police. The applicant allegedly informed the police officers that he had been diagnosed as HIV-positive and that he was taking medicine. When he was running out of the medicine, he requested the Head of the Dobele police to contact the Infectology Centre in order to obtain a new supply of medicine. Within a few days the applicant was informed that the Infectology Centre had been contacted in that respect. However, the applicant did not receive the medicine.
On an unspecified date the applicant was transferred to the Rīga Central Prison. He allegedly informed the prison authorities that he had been diagnosed as HIV-positive. The applicant was examined by the prison doctor, whom he informed about the anti-HIV therapy and of his wish to continue it. The doctor promised to contact the Infectology Centre in that respect.
According to the applicant, in November 2002 the doctor of the Rīga Central Prison informed the applicant that it had been established that he had refused to continue the anti-HIV therapy.
On 18 February 2003 the applicant was transferred to the Daugavpils Prison.
On 18 August 2003 the Infectology Centre replied to the applicant that as he had not collected another supply of the medicine after 12 August 2002, it had been decided by the medical council to stop his therapy. The applicant was informed that at the current stage his analyses had to be examined on a regular basis – once every three months.
On 21 August 2003 the Ministry of Health transferred the applicant’s complaint about the lack of adequate medical assistance in the Grīvas and the Daugavpils Prisons to the Inspection of the Quality Control of Medical Treatment (MADEKKI) for examination.
On 16 September 2003 MADEKKI replied to the applicant that when he had commenced the anti-HIV therapy he had been warned that if he could not collect the medicine himself, he had to inform the Infectology Centre. It had been established that the applicant had failed to do so within five days and that the therapy had been stopped, according to the decision of the medical council. The specialists of the Infectology Centre considered that it was not useful to recommence the therapy. The medical supervision and examination are to be continued and the necessity of recommencing the therapy as to be decided by the doctors of the Infectology Centre. It was established that the applicant had received adequate medical assistance in prison.
On 30 September 2003 a police officer of the Dobele District Police replied to the applicant that his complaint about the events that had taken place between September and October 2002 had been found to be unsubstantiated. Upon his admission to the Temporary Detention Unit, it had not been established that he had HIV.
The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that, contrary to his wishes, his anti-HIV therapy was discontinued as the prison authorities did not contact the Infectology Centre of Latvia as he had requested. As a result, his state of health deteriorated.
The applicant complained under Article 14 of the Convention that the anti-HIV therapy was discontinued because of the mere fact of his imprisonment.
By letter dated 20 December 2007 the Government’s observations were sent to the applicant, who was requested to submit any observations together with any claims for just satisfaction in reply by 11 February 2008.
By letter dated 20 May 2008, sent by registered post, the applicant was notified that the period allowed for submission of the applicant’s observations had expired on 11 February 2008 and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court may strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant does not intend to pursue the application. The letter was sent back to the Court with a note from the prison where the applicant had been held indicating that he had been released from prison. On 31 October 2008 he letter was resent to two known applicant’s addresses. From one of those addresses the letter was returned to the Court with a note from the post office indicating that the storage time had expired. At the other address the applicant’s sister received this letter on 15 November 2008. However, no response has been received from the applicant.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue his application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall