CASE OF YUGAY v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 29769/09)
6 June 2017
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Yugay v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Pere Pastor Vilanova,
Georgios A. Serghides, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 May 2017,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 29769/09) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Tajikistan national, Mr Boris Romanovich Yugay (“the applicant”), on 6 April 2009.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr A. Gorbunov, a lawyer practising in Moscow. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented initially by Mr G. Matyushkin, the Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights, and then by Mr A. Fedorov, Head of the Office of the Representative of the Russian Federation to the Court.
3. On 11 May 2015 the complaint concerning the length of pre-trial detention was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1985 and lives in Perm.
5. On 22 April 2008 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of drug dealing and was placed in pre-trial detention on the ground that he was suspected of committing a serious offence, was a foreign national, had no permanent place of residence in Perm, no job, no income, he could abscond and commit crimes.
6. On 18 June 2008 the Permskiy District Court of the Perm Region extended his pre-trial detention on the same grounds.
7. On 5 August 2008 the Permskiy District Court issued the first conviction which was quashed by the Perm Regional Court on 14 October 2008. The court held that the applicant should remain in detention without indicating any reasons.
8. By decisions of 1 November 2008 and 18 March 2009, as upheld on appeal, the Permskiy District Court extended the applicant’s pre-trial detention reiterating its earlier reasoning and stating that he could interfere with the investigation and put pressure on witnesses.
9. On 20 May 2010 the District Court issued a new conviction. On 14 December 2010 the Perm Regional Court quashed this conviction. The applicant remained in detention.
10. On 26 May 2011 the Perm Regional Court convicted the applicant of drug dealing and smuggling and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment. On 25 October 2011 the Supreme Court of Russia commuted the sentence to 8 years’ imprisonment.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
11. The applicant complained that the duration of his pre-trial detention had been excessive and therefore in breach of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”
12. The Government contested that argument stating that the applicant had failed to exhaust domestic remedies with regard to the pre-trial detention period from 22 April to 5 August 2008, that the domestic courts had indicated relevant and sufficient reasons for the applicant’s detention and that the length of his detention had been reasonable.
13. The applicant maintained his complaint.
14. The Court reiterates that, in circumstances where applicants have continued to be deprived of their liberty while the criminal proceedings were pending at the appeal stage, it has always regarded the multiple consecutive pre-trial detention periods as a whole and not divided into separate periods in the manner suggested by the Government (see, among numerous authorities, Solmaz v. Turkey, no. 27561/02, §§ 34-37, 16 January 2007).
15. In the instant case the applicant’s pre-trial detention consisted of three periods: (1) from 22 April to 5 August 2008, (2) from 14 October 2008 to 20 May 2010, and (3) from 14 December 2010 to 26 May 2011. Although the applicant did not lodge appeals against the extension orders issued before October 2008, he appealed to the Perm Regional Court against the detention orders of 15 April 2009 and 28 October 2009 arguing that the period of his pre-trial detention had been unreasonably long. He thereby gave the domestic courts an opportunity to consider whether his detention in its entirety was compatible with his Convention right to trial within a reasonable time or release pending trial (see Lyubimenko v. Russia, no. 6270/06, § 62, 19 March 2009, and Polonskiy v. Russia, no. 30033/05, § 132, 19 March 2009). The Court therefore dismisses the Government’s objection.
16. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
17. The Court has already, on a large number of occasions, examined applications against Russia raising similar complaints under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention and found a violation of that Article on the grounds that the domestic courts extended an applicant’s detention, relying essentially on the gravity of the charges and using stereotyped formulae without addressing his or her specific situation or considering alternative preventive measures (see, among many other examples, Valeriy Samoylov v. Russia, no. 57541/09, 24 January 2012; Romanova v. Russia, no. 23215/02, 11 October 2011; Sutyagin v. Russia, no. 30024/02, 3 May 2011; Logvinenko v. Russia, no. 44511/04, 17 June 2010; Gultyayeva v. Russia, no. 67413/01, 1 April 2010; Makarenko v. Russia, no. 5962/03, 22 December 2009; Lamazhyk v. Russia, no. 20571/04, 30 July 2009; Belov v. Russia, no. 22053/02, 3 July 2008; and Shukhardin v. Russia, no. 65734/01, 28 June 2007).
18. Turning to the circumstances of the present case, the Court notes that there is no reason to arrive at a different finding in the present case. The applicant spent in pre-trial detention two years and four months, domestic courts resorting to abstract and stereotyped grounds and not considering seriously the possibility of alternatives for detention. Such grounds which, although “relevant”, cannot be regarded as “sufficient”. In these circumstances it is not necessary to examine whether the proceedings were conducted with “special diligence”.
19. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
20. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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.”
21. The applicant claimed 50,000 euros (EUR) and EUR 100,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.
22. The Government stated that the award should be determined in accordance with the Court’s case-law.
23. The Court does not discern any causal link between the violation found and the pecuniary damage alleged; it therefore rejects this claim. On the other hand, making its assessment on an equitable basis, the Court awards the applicant EUR 2,400 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable on this sum.
B. Costs and expenses
24. The applicant also claimed EUR 5,000 for the legal costs and expenses.
25. The Government did not comment.
26. The Court notes that the applicant failed to substantiate his claim it, accordingly, rejects this part of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
C. Default interest
27. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
1. Declares the complaint about the excessive length of pre-trial detention admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 2,400 (two thousand four hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State 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;
4. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 6 June 2017, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Branko Lubarda
Deputy Registrar President