Case of European Court of Human Rights, April 06, 2000 (case Labita v. Italy [GC])

Resolution DateApril 06, 2000

Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 17

April 2000

Labita v. Italy [GC] - 26772/95

Judgment 6.4.2000 [GC]

Article 3

Degrading treatment

Inhuman treatment

Alleged ill-treatment in prison and effectiveness of investigation: no violations; violation

Article 5

Article 5-1

Lawful arrest or detention

Delay in implementing release following acquittal: violation

Article 5-3

Length of pre-trial detention

Detention on remand lasting 2 years 7 months: violation

Article 8

Article 8-1

Respect for correspondence

Censorship of prisoner's correspondence: violation

Article 3 of Protocol No. 1


Disenfranchisement of suspected mafioso: violation

Article 2 of Protocol No. 4

Article 2 para. 1 of Protocol No. 4

Freedom of movement

Restrictions on movement of suspected mafioso: violation

Facts – The applicant was arrested in April 1992 on suspicion of belonging to the mafia, on the basis of uncorroborated statements of a former mafioso (pentito), whose information was second-hand. The applicant was acquitted in November 1994, but as he did not arrive back at the prison until after midnight and the registration officer was absent he could not be released until the following morning. He claims that he was subjected to ill-treatment during his detention in Pianosa prison, where he alleges that the ill-treatment of inmates (slapping, squeezing of testicles, beatings, as well as insults and intimidation) was systematic. At a hearing in October 1993, the applicant and other inmates complained about ill-treatment which they claimed had occurred until October 1992. This was borne out by a judge's report. However, criminal proceedings were discontinued because the pepetrators could not be identified. During his detention, the applicant was kept under a special security regime until January 1995. Moreover, his correspondence was censored, partly on the basis of court decisions and partly on the basis of an order of the Minister for Justice, but at one stage without any basis. After the applicant's acquittal, preventive measures ordered during his detention were applied for three years (curfew between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., obligation not to leave his home without informing the supervisory authorities, obligation to report weekly to the police, prohibition on going to bars or public meetings or associating with persons with a criminal record) and he was ordered to live in a particular place. His attempts to have these measures lifted were rejected on the ground that...

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