Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 23.02.2010 «Дело Сычев (sychev) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

(Application No. 14824/02)
(Strasbourg, 23.II.2010)
*This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Sychev v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Josep Casadevall, President,

Elisabet Fura,

{Bostjan M. Zupancic}*,

*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Anatoly Kovler,

Alvina Gyulumyan,

Egbert Myjer,

Luis {Lopez} Guerra, judges,

and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 2 February 2010,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

1. The case originated in an application (No. 14824/02) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by a Russian national, Mr Oleg Ivanovich Sychev ("the applicant"), on 15 March 2002.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr V. Postnikov, a lawyer practising in the town of Tyumen. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr P. Laptev, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. On 15 September 2005 the President of the Third Section decided to give notice of the application and decided to communicate to the Government the complaints concerning the lawfulness of the applicant's detention on remand, its allegedly excessive length and the length of proceedings in his criminal case. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3).

I. The circumstances of the case
4. The applicant was born in 1959 and lives in the town of Novyy Urengoy, the Tyumen Region.

5. The applicant is a military serviceman with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Between 1996 and 2000 he was employed as the head of road construction department No. 1393 in the Tyumen Garrison.

A. The applicant's arrest and the subsequent investigation
6. On 2 June 2000 the Military Prosecutor of the Tyumen Garrison ("the prosecutor") brought criminal proceedings against the applicant on suspicion of aggravated theft.

7. The applicant was arrested and searched on the same date. The arrest warrant mentioned the existence of witnesses who had indicated the applicant's involvement in criminal activity.

8. On that date police officer Pe. reported that the applicant had actively resisted arrest and that the police had had recourse to physical force to apprehend him. It does not appear that the report was ever mentioned by the courts in their assessment of the need to detain the applicant on remand pending the criminal proceedings.

9. On 5 June 2000 the prosecutor also initiated proceedings in respect of the applicant on suspicion of aggravated fraud.

10. On the same date the applicant was officially charged with several counts of theft and fraud, abuse of power and obstructing the course of justice and the preliminary investigation.

11. On 6 July he was also charged with bribery.

B. The detention order of 5 July 2000
12. On 5 July 2000 the prosecutor authorised the applicant's detention on remand, having noted the risk that he might flee or impede the investigation, as well as the gravity of the charges brought against him.

13. The detention order was appealed against by the applicant and then upheld by the Military Court of the Tyumen Garrison on 26 September 2000.

C. The detention order of 22 September 2000
14. On 22 September 2000 the Military Prosecutor of the Ural Military District extended the applicant's detention on remand to five months, that is, until 2 November 2000. In making the order, the prosecutor described in detail all the steps that had been taken by the investigation authorities until then, such as questioning several dozen witnesses, organising confrontations with witnesses and the co-accused, searching the co-accused's flats and seizing various documents.

D. The referral of the applicant's criminal case
to the trial court
15. On 2 November 2000 the acting Military Prosecutor of the Tyumen Garrison approved the bill of indictment and the case was sent to the trial court.

16. On 4 November 2000 the Military Court of the Tyumen Garrison accepted the case for trial.

17. By a decision of 18 November 2000 the court scheduled the first hearing for 6 December 2000 and noted, without going into further detail, that the preventive measure should remain unchanged.

E. The hearings of 6 and 7 December 2000
18. On 6 December 2000 judge S. and two lay assessors, officers Ya. and M., started the examination of the applicant's case. The applicant was represented by a lawyer, Mr Trofimov.

19. In a decision dated 6 December 2000 the court granted a request by the prosecutor for a psychiatric expert examination of the applicant. The court noted the prosecutor's description of the applicant's behaviour during the investigation of the case, including occasional threats and verbal attacks against escorting policemen, attempts to punch them, and banging his head against the wall. In addition, the applicant was said to have eaten the schedule of his access to the case file.

20. The proceedings in the applicant's criminal case were therefore suspended. In the same decision the court made the applicant available for examination in the Tyumen Regional Psychiatric Clinical Hospital and ordered him to remain in custody.

21. In a document dated 7 December 2000 judge S. informed the military prosecutor of the Tyumen Garrison that the investigator G. had been perfectly aware of the applicant's allegedly "inappropriate" behaviour and that it had been his duty to order the latter's examination at an earlier date. His failure to do so during the preliminary investigation was viewed as a serious shortcoming which had adversely affected the applicant's constitutional rights since it had resulted, among other things, in the extension of the period of his detention.

F. The applicant's placement in hospital
and the related review proceedings
22. It appears that on 8 December 2000 the applicant was admitted to hospital. The applicant appealed against the decision of 6 December 2000 and also brought proceedings against the hospital.

23. In a letter dated 15 December 2000 judge S. asked the head of the department of in-patient psychiatric examinations to suspend the applicant's examination in view of his appeal against the decision of 6 December 2000.

24. On 20 December 2000 the case file was sent to the Military Court of the Ural Command for an examination of the applicant's appeal. On 11 January 2001 the court rejected the appeal and upheld the impugned decision.

25. Owing to the heavy workload in the military communication services the case file was not returned to the trial court until 26 March 2001. On the next day it was sent to the hospital where the applicant was being kept.

26. On 9 February 2001 the applicant was diagnosed as sane by the experts and on that date he was apparently discharged from the hospital.

27. He submits that, notwithstanding the examination report, the court sent him, again, to the same hospital for a psychiatric examination on 4 April 2001. No such further examination having allegedly been carried out, he was discharged from the hospital on 20 April 2001. According to the applicant, his medical documents contained the diagnosis "sane" accompanied by a note indicating that this was the second such diagnosis (повторно).

28. In so far as the applicant complained about his detention in the hospital to the civil courts, in a judgment of 26 April 2001 the Tyumen District Court dismissed his complaint against the Tyumen Regional Psychiatric Hospital, finding that he had been placed there in accordance with a court order and that no violation of his physical integrity or any other rights had therefore taken place.

29. The applicant also complained to the Prosecutor's Office of the Tyumen Region, alleging that he had been unlawfully admitted to the psychiatric hospital and detained there. By a decision of 11 December 2001 a prosecutor refused to initiate criminal proceedings in connection with the applicant's complaint. That decision was quashed on 7 March 2002 by a superior prosecutor and the relevant case file was sent back for additional investigation. On an unspecified date the case was discontinued.

G. The trial proceedings following
the applicant's examination
30. On 15 May 2001 the trial court received the case file from the hospital, together with the examination report.

31. It appears that owing to the court's workload, the next hearing was scheduled for 29 August 2001.

H. The trial hearings of 29 - 31 August 2001
and related review proceedings
32. At the hearing of 29 August 2001 the applicant requested the court to release him and to refer the case back for an additional investigation, with reference, among other things, to the prosecutor's failure clearly to formulate the charges of bribery. He further asked for additional access to the case file.

33. In a decision of 31 August 2001 the trial court rejected the applicant's requests for release and an additional investigation. It appears that in its reasoning the court merely cited the prosecutor's opinion on the applicant's complaints. In respect of the preventive measure it was noted that the applicant faced very serious charges and that he had attempted to obstruct the course of justice and the conduct of the preliminary investigation and on one occasion to abscond. The decision did not go into any further detail, and did not specify the period of the applicant's further detention.

34. At the same time the court ordered that the applicant and his lawyer should be granted access to the case file and adjourned the proceedings, without setting any further time-limit.

35. On 30 October 2001 the Military Court of the Ural Command upheld the decision of 31 August 2001 on appeal. The court repeated the reasoning of the trial court without going into further detail.

I. The letter dated 27 November 2001 from the prosecutor
supervising the execution of punishments
36. In a letter dated 27 November 2001, apparently in response to the applicant's numerous complaints, the prosecutor supervising the execution of punishments notified the President of the Military Court of the Ural Command that the applicant had been kept in detention since June 2000. He further noted that since November 2000, when the trial court had accepted the case for trial, until November 2001 there had been two court hearings, the latter ending with a new adjournment for an indefinite period of time. The prosecutor lastly emphasised that the applicant was being kept in an overcrowded detention facility and requested that measures be taken to expedite the proceedings.

37. In response, the President of the Military Court of the Tyumen Garrison informed the prosecutor that the situation described in his letter was due to the applicant's own behaviour, and in particular to his constant appealing against the trial court decisions and his request for additional access to the case file. The President pointed out that on the last occasion when the applicant had had access, on 4 December 2001, he had behaved "inappropriately" again. In particular, he had shouted at the courier, had sworn and had refused to familiarise himself with the documents in the absence of a prosecutor.

J. The trial hearings of 13 and 17 December 2001
and the decision on the applicant's fresh
psychiatric examination
38. The proceedings resumed on 13 December 2001, presided over by judge Kh. with two law assessors, officers Ya. and Ch. The applicant again requested the court to release him and to refer the case back for an additional investigation because the charges of bribery were allegedly unclear. He also requested the court to accept his former wife, his son and a Mr P. as his representatives and filed several other requests.

39. On a motion by the prosecutor the court adjourned the hearing until 17 December 2001.

40. In a decision of 17 December 2001, acting upon the prosecutor's request, the trial court ordered a fresh in-patient psychological and psychiatric examination of the applicant in the Serbskiy State Scientific Centre of Social and Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow. The court referred to the applicant's behaviour on 4 December 2001, to the "number and content" of his complaints to different bodies, to the impossibility of controlling his conduct and to the lack of "effective contact" with him during the court hearings. In view of the above, the court raised doubts as to the previous experts' conclusions and said that the applicant's psychiatric condition needed further clarification. The proceedings were adjourned until the examination report was available.

41. In a decision of the same date the court rejected the applicant's requests for release, with reference to the gravity of the charges and to the fact that "there were sufficient grounds to consider that, if released, he would obstruct the establishment of the truth and abscond since such attempts have already taken place, according to the case file". No time-limits were set for the extended detention period.

42. In the same decision the court rejected the applicant's request to have his former wife, his son and Mr P. accepted as his representatives. At the same time the court allowed a certain Ms Porfilo to represent him.

43. On 5 February 2002 the Military Court of the Ural Command upheld the decision of 17 December 2001 on appeal.

K. Hearing of 14 August 2002
and the applicant's release on bail
44. The examination of the applicant's case resumed with the hearing of 14 August 2002, the applicant and his two representatives, Mr Trofimov and Mr Postnikov, being present. The applicant submits that Ms Porfilo was not duly notified about the hearing and was absent.

45. It appears that at the hearing Mr Trofimov again requested the court to change the preventive measure applied in respect of the applicant.

46. In a decision of 14 August 2002 the trial court granted the request, terminated the applicant's detention and released him on bail of 10,000 Russian roubles. The court stated,