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    Belgium condemned for “degrading treatment” of detainee

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday issued condemned Belgium for “degrading treatment” of a detainee during a prison-warder strike.

    The State now needs to pay the plaintiff compensation to the sum of 3,480 euros for non-pecuniary damage and 2,300 euros in costs.

    A detainee of the Ittre Prison in Walloon Brabant had filed a complaint with the Court for the consequences on his daily life of a strike by prison warders from April to June 2016, during which detainees were deprived of many services to which they have a right, including a daily shower, yard time, family visits and time with their attorneys.

    The ECHR said in its ruling that the absence of physical activity, suspension of contact with the outside world, violations of hygiene rules and uncertainty about the evolution of the situation had caused the plaintiff distress exceeding the inevitable level of suffering inherent to imprisonment.

    The Belgian justice authorities had ruled in favour of the detainee in an earlier suit and had condemned the State to pay him 250 euros for each day of the infraction. However, the ECHR noted that the complaint filed by the detainee during the strike had not been effective.

    The absence of supervision of the continuity of the prison warders’ mission during the strike gave rise to the ineffectiveness of the complaint and compromised the execution of the favourable ruling of the judge, according to the court, which also condemned Belgium for violating the right to effective remedy.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times