Moldova: guilty of inhuman conditions in the Transnistrian prison

According to, on May 29, the European Court of Human Rights made public the judgment in Pocasovschi and Mihăilă v. Moldova and Russia, by which it unanimously decided that there had been a violation for both applicants, namely “torture, inhuman or degrading treatment “and” right to an effective remedy “against a plaintiff.

The two people complained that they were held in inappropriate conditions in a Moldovan prison from Transnistria, where water and light were disconnected by the “Moldavian Republic of Nistru”, and the civil proceedings they nitiated, were excessively long.

The ECHR found that although the municipal authority that decided to stop the utilities was controlled by the Transnistrians, the penitentiary itself was under the control of the Moldovan government.

The Court accepted the findings of the national authorities that the applicants were detained under inhuman conditions between September 2002 and April 2004 due to lack of water, electricity, food and heat. However, according to the ECHR, the national courts have granted much lower compensation than those normally granted by the Court.

Thus, the European Court of Justice has decided to pay additional sums for the moral prejudice suffered by the applicants.

The applicants, Ruslan Pocasovschi and Ion Mihăilă, are Moldovan citizens, aged 43 and 44, and live in Cahul and Cetireni. They executed their sentences in Penitentiary no. 8 from Bender, which, although under Moldovan jurisdiction, is controlled by Transnistrians.

In September 2002, water, electricity and heating were shut down in the detention facility, and water and electricity were not reconnected until February 2003. In July of the same year, the utilities were interrupted again, with Transnistrian authorities insisting that the prison had to be closed.

The two plaintiffs, who were suffering from tuberculosis, remained in the penitentiary during the period when the utilities were interrupted. They were transferred to other places of detention only in 2004. Subsequently, both were released conditionally.

According to the Court, the applicants and other detainees exerted pressure on the Moldovan authorities in 2003 and 2004 to improve prison conditions and to intervene with the “TMR authorities” in establishing and punishing the persons responsible for shutting down utilities, but no investigation was carried out.

In March 2004, the Helsinki Committee filed an application for compensation for detained persons, including plaintiffs. In June 2009, the Bender Court of Appeal awarded each applicant 20,000 lei as compensation, acknowledging the violation of their rights on grounds of detention under inhuman conditions.

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