While serving a life sentence, the applicant, Mr. Vasilyev, had a toe of his right foot and the distal part of his left foot amputated due to frostbite, but was unable to obtain appropriate orthopaedic footwear. Lack of such footwear was capable of causing pain.
Mr. Vasilyev alleged that he had not been provided with proper medical assistance in detention in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court emphasized that the state must ensure that the health and well-being of a person detained is adequately ensured, given the practical demands of imprisonment, by, among other things, providing him with the requisite medical assistance. In the particular case the Court observed that at least one of the detention facilities where Mr. Vasilyev was held had admitted that he was in need of special orthopaedic footwear. Finding that the national authorities were not actively looking for the solution of Mr. Vasilyev’s problem and consequently had not found one for several years, the Court ruled that the lack of any appropriate solution to his problem had caused Mr. Vasilyev’s distress and hardship amounting to degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.