Case Karykowski v. Poland, Prus v. Poland, Romaniuk v. Poland

Importance Nature Application Number Case language State Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
3 Judgement 653/12, 5136/11, 59285/12 English Poland 12/01/2016

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Karykowski v. Poland - 653/12

Prus v. Poland - 5136/11

Romaniuk v. Poland - 59285/12

Article 3

High security measures : violation

All three applicants complained under Article 3 about the special high-security regime to which they had been subjected following their classification as dangerous detainees – on different legal basis though. Namely they complained about their solitary confinement, their isolation from their families, the outside world and other detainees, their shackling whenever they were taken out of their cells, the routine daily strip searches and constant monitoring of their cells and sanitary facilities via closed-circuit television (on this specific regime see Piechowicz v. Poland, §§166 et s.).

The authorities justified their decision to subject M. Karykowski and M. Prus to this regime arguing that their activities in prison had put the prison’s security at risk. In the first case “they had found in his cell a ‘protest letter’ signed by some 135 criticising changes to the Code of Execution of Criminal Sentences” affecting the possibility of shipping during prison visits (Karykowski, §33). In the second case the main argument was “the applicant’s alleged participation in a planned collective remonstrance in the prison” (Prus, §32) – the applicant refused to eat his breakfast together with other inmates. In both cases, the Court declared itself not convinced that “the so-called ‘dangerous detainee’ regime had been necessary to maintain prison security” (Prus, §34; Karykowski, §35), due to the cumulative effects of this strict regime on the applicants. Moreover the decision to extend this three-month regime lacked proper justifications based on the applicants’ situation (Karykowski, §38; Prus, §37). Accordingly, the Court found a violation of Article 3.

As regards M. Romaniuk, he was classified as a ‘dangerous detainee’ because of the gravity of the charges laid against him. The Court acknowledged that “it was not […] unreasonable on the part of the authorities to consider that, for the sake on ensuring prison security” to subject the applicant to tighter security controls (§38). However, the Court observed that these measures were routinely used without any assessment of their necessity, and that the regime lasted almost three years while the applicant was in pre-trial detention. Moreover the regime was extended without proper justification. The Court therefore declared that there had been a violation of Article 3.