Case of European Court of Human Rights, July 11, 2006 (case Jalloh v. Germany [GC])

Resolution Date:July 11, 2006

Violation of Art. 3 No separate issue under Art. 8 Violation of Art. 6 Pecuniary damage - claim dismissed Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses award - domestic proceedings Costs and expenses award - Convention proceedings


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 88

July-August 2006

Jalloh v. Germany [GC] - 54810/00

Judgment 11.7.2006 [GC]

Article 3

Degrading treatment

Inhuman treatment

Forcible administration of emetics to a drug-trafficker in order to recover a plastic bag he had swallowed containing drugs: violation

Article 6

Criminal proceedings

Article 6-1

Fair hearing

Use in evidence of a plastic bag containing drugs obtained by the forcible administration of emetics: violation

Facts: In October 1993 plain-clothes police officers observed the applicant on several occasions taking tiny plastic bags out of his mouth and handing them over for money. Suspecting that the bags contained drugs, the police officers went over to arrest the applicant. While they were doing so he swallowed another tiny bag he still had in his mouth. As no drugs were found on him, the competent public prosecutor ordered that he be given an emetic to force him to regurgitate the bag. The applicant was taken to hospital, where he saw a doctor. As he refused to take medication to induce vomiting, four police officers held him down while the doctor inserted a tube through his nose and administered a salt solution and Ipecacuanha syrup by force. The doctor also injected him with apomorphine, a morphine derivative which acts as an emetic. As a result the applicant regurgitated a small bag of cocaine. A short while later he was examined by a doctor who declared him fit for detention. When police officers arrived to question the applicant about two hours after he had been given the emetics, he told them in broken English – it then becoming apparent that he could not speak German – that he was too tired to make a statement. The following day the applicant was charged with drug trafficking and placed in detention on remand. His lawyer alleged that the evidence against him had been obtained illegally and so could not be used in the criminal proceedings. He further contended that the police officers and the doctor who had participated in the operation were guilty of causing bodily harm in the exercise of official duties. Finally, he argued that the administration of toxic substances was prohibited by the Code of Criminal Procedure and that the measure was also disproportionate under the Code, as it would have been possible to obtain the same result by waiting until the bag had been excreted naturally. In March 1994 the District Court convicted the applicant of drug trafficking and gave him...

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