The applicant, Mr. Bazjaks, was serving his prison sentence. While serving his sentence in Daugavpils prison the applicant was placed in overpopulated cell.
Mr. Bazjaks complained that overcrowding and lack of personal space in his cell violated his rights under Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court reminded that Article 3 prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the circumstances and the victim's behavior. To fall under Article 3 of the Convention, ill-treatment must attain a minimum level of severity, which depends on each individual case on such factors as the duration of the treatment, its physical and mental effects, the age and health of the victim etc. The Court also reiterated that it is incumbent on the respondent Government to organise its penitentiary system in such a way as to ensure respect for the dignity of detainees, regardless of financial or logistical difficulties. In the case at hand the Court found that Daugavpils prison held significantly more prisoner than it was designed to. Even though the parties had not given any evidence on the measurements of the cells and the number of inmates held there, the Court observed that at the material time the domestic legal standard for the living space was 2.5 m2 for adult male prisoners. Thus the Court assumed that Mr. Bazjaks was afforded not more than 2.5 m2 of personal space. In addition, the applicant was not offered any out-of-cell activities and the outdoors yard was too small for any physical exercise. Noting that other detention conditions were also inadequate, the Court concluded that detention conditions in Daugavpils prison were humiliating and debasing in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.