UHHRU will protect the rights of life-term prisoner-tuberculosis patient in European Court of Human Rights

In January 2019 the UHHRU lawyer Victoria Petruk prepared the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the protection of the rights of life-term prisoner – tuberculosis patient. On March 27 ECHR admitted the complaint.

At the beginning of 2019 UHHRU public reception office in Kyiv received an application from Maxym Zaremba, the advocate of life-term prisoner – tuberculosis patient Zh. The advocate together with the defendant applied to the national courts with the request to recalculate the three-year period for which the client stayed in the pretrial detention facilities from the moment of pronouncement of the sentence for him till the moment when he was transferred to the penitentiary facility, according to the law No 838-VIII “On amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine with regards to improvement of the procedure of including by the court of the period of preliminary detention in the term of punishment” (so called “Savchenko’s” law) – i.e. to include this term in accordance with the formula “day of stay in pre-trial detention facilities for two days of serving the sentence”.

The courts, which considered the motion of the convict refused to carry out such recalculation. The advocate requested UHHRU’s support in filing this case with European Court of Human Rights (UCHR).

Not only in the case of the client but also in other similar cases the courts refuse to recalculate the period of the convict’s stay in pretrial detention facilities from the moment of pronouncement of the sentence till the moment of convict’s transfer to the penitentiary establishment. Though in explanatory note to the Law No 838-VIII it was stressed that conditions of stay of detainees in the pretrial detention centers are below standards. The wards, where people are kept, often overcrowded and do not comply with minimum sanitary requirements. It is a commonly-known fact that conditions of serving the sentence for the convicts in the penitentiary facilities of different level of security are better than the conditions in the pretrial detention facilities, where the people, which are just suspected of committing an offense, are kept. Thus, in this case it was expected that ECHR would pay attention to the problem and would rule accordingly.

Victoria Petruk (UHHRU lawyer): “There are plenty of such cases. Though in relevant legislation the opportunity for including the term of stay in pretrial detention facilities in line with the formula “day for two” after the sentence is enforced is not directly envisaged, we tried to point out to ECHR that the situation of people waiting for the sentence in pretrial detention facilities was not any better than the situation of the people, which, for different reasons, were kept in pretrial detention facilities after the sentence.

But this situation is special, as we are talking about the person sentenced for life. As you know, at the moment the only opportunity for early parole for those sentenced for life is to apply to the President with the petition for pardon. In the complaint we stressed that if the court would apply “Savchenko’s law” and included the period of serving the sentence spent in pretrial detention facility after enforcement of the sentence according to the formula “day for two”, they would draw nearer by three years the opportunity for our client to apply with the petition for pardon, actually the only possibility for early parole for Mr. Zh.”

In February 2019, UHHRU lawyer together with the advocate of citizen Zh. prepared the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). On March 27, 2019 the confirmation that the complaint was admitted was received from ECHR.

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union implements the project “Development of the legal network for protection of the people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of key PLHIV communities and persons ill with TB” with the financial support of the Charitable organization “All-Ukrainian Network of the People Living with HIV/AIDS” in the framework of implementation of the project “Releasing the Burden of TB and HIV infection through creation of the open access to timely and quality diagnostics and treatment of the TB and its resistant forms, expanding evidence based prevention, diagnostic and treatment of HIV infection, and creation of stable and sustainable health protection systems”, which is implemented with the financial support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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