Trial In Metal Cage Violated Human Rights: Europe Court


Agence France Presse
June 15, 2010 Tuesday 3:22 PM GMT

An Armenian man who was placed in a metal cage while he appealed a
non-violent conviction suffered degrading treatment, the European
Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday.

The court was hearing the case of the now-deceased Ashot Harutyunyan,
who in 2004 appealed against a seven-year sentence for fraud,
falsification of documents and tax evasion.

At each of the 12 hearings at the Court of Appeals in the Armenian
capital Yerevan, Harutyunyan was placed inside a metal cage, which
he found humiliating and a violation of his dignity.

The court in Strasbourg found there was nothing in Harutyunyan’s
behaviour or personality that could have justified such a security
measure as he had no previous convictions and no history of violence.

The “stringent and humiliating measure” violated Article 3 of the
European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits inhuman or
degrading treatment, the court found.

However, the court determined that Harutyunyan had received a fair

“He had two lawyers to assist him and there was nothing to suggest
that the metal cage had prevented him from communicating with them
or the court,” the ruling said.

“Nor did placing the applicant in a metal cage suggest that the
Court of Appeal had presumed the applicant to be guilty, the cage
having been a permanent security measure used in all criminal cases
examined there.”

Armenia, which can appeal against the decision, was ordered to pay
Harutyunyan’s daughter 16,000 euros (19,7002 dollars) in damages.

Harutyunyan died of a heart attack in prison in January 2009.

From: A. Papazian

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