Yunusova and Yunusov v. Azerbaijan: Well-known Azerbaijani human rights defenders were not provided with adequate medical care for serious health problems during their detention

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Press Release issued by the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights 186 (2016) of 5 June 2015.

This text is the Russian translation of the ECtHR Registry press release on the Court’s Judgement in the case of Yunusova and Yunusov v. Azerbaijan (Application no. 59620/14 lodged with the Court on 29 August 2014. Judgment of 2 June 2016.). The case concerned the allegation by Mr Yunusov and Ms Yunusova, husband and wife and well-known human rights defenders and civil society activists, that their medical care in detention had been inadequate. According to the applicants, this had led to a serious deterioration in their condition. They thus made a request under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (interim measures) in September 2014 to the EСtHR to be provided with adequate medical care. The Court indicated to the Azerbaijani Government to provide both applicants with adequate medical treatment in prison. The Government, on the other hand, claimed that the applicants had been under constant medical supervision in prison and received comprehensive medical treatment; there had been therefore no deterioration in their health. The Court, however, found that, despite monthly reports provided about the couple’s health and medical examinations following the issuing of that interim measure, the Azerbaijani Government had failed to submit any medical evidence to back up their claim that the couple’s health had been stable and had not required a transfer to a medical facility. The very purpose of the interim measure granted by the Court, namely to prevent the couple’s exposure to inhuman and degrading suffering in view of their poor health and to ensure that they received adequate medical treatment in prison, had thus been impaired. The Court, taking into account some other circumstances (e.g. the very fact that Mr Yunusov was released from detention precisely on health grounds) therefore believed that, as a result of inadequate medical treatment, the couple had been exposed to prolonged mental and physical suffering, amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of Article 3 of the Convention, and held that Azerbaijan was to pay non-pecuniary damage to each applicant and their joint costs and expenses.

Citation: (2016) Yunusova i Yunusov protiv Azerbaydzhana: Izvestnyie azerbaydzhanskie pravozashchitniki neobeapechivalis' v meste lisheniya svobody adekvatnoy meditsinskoy pomoshch'yu v svyazi s ser'yoznymi zabolevaniyami: Press-reliz Sekretariata Evropeyskogo Suda po pravam cheloveka 186 (2016) ot 2 iyunya 2016 goda [Yunusova and Yunusov v. Azerbaijan: Wellknown Azerbaijani human rights defenders were not provided with adequate medical care for serious health problems during their detention: Press Release issued by the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights 186 (2016) of 2 June 2016]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no. 2, pp. 21–24. (In Russian)