Tarariyeva v. Russia

European Court of Human Rights
14 December 2006


The applicant’s, Ms. Tarariyevas, son was sentenced to six year’s imprisonment. He was diagnosed with ulcer and after several stages of treatment he had a surgery in civil hospital. During his time in hospital he was handcuffed to bed. Later he was diagnosed with a breakdown of sutures in the duodenum, duodenal fistula and peritonitis and transported to a prison hospital 120 km away. There he underwent a further surgery after which he died. An autopsy established that the death had been caused by acute blood loss provoked by massive gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.


The applicant complained that her son, Mr. Tarariyev, had died in custody as a result of inadequate and defective medical assistance and that those responsible had not been identified and punished.

Court's ruling

The Court emphasized that the state not only has to refrain from the “intentional” taking of life, but also has to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction. Thus the States have to make regulations compelling hospitals, whether private or public, to adopt appropriate measures for the protection of patients' lives. They also require an effective independent judicial system to be set up so that the cause of death of patients in the care of the medical profession, whether in the public or the private sector, can be determined and those responsible made accountable. Regarding prisoners, the Court stated that it is incumbent on the state to account for any injuries suffered in custody, which obligation is particularly stringent where that individual dies. 

In the particular case the Court found that the internal surgery performed on Mr. Tarariyev was defective therefore the sutures had broken down. Although he was in need of urgent further surgery, he was transported to the prison hospital in a state in which he should not be moved at all. There was also no record of the previous surgery nor the subsequent complications provided to the prison hospital. The Court also concluded that the prison hospital was not adequately equipped for dealing with massive blood loss as was the case with Mr. Tarariyev. As the medical expertise disclosed a causal link between the inappropriate treatment and transportation of Mr. Tarariyev and his death, the Court found a violation of Article 2 of the Convention.

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Last updated 18/11/2023