21 November 2017, Tuesday

On November 21 2017, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a ruling on the case of Kaimova and others vs Russia (No 24132/12). Moldy Kaimov died in a prison facility from tuberculosis, and the Russian government must now pay 24,000 euros in compensation to the Kaimov family. 

Moldy Kaimov had suffered from tuberculosis of the lungs since 2004. He received treatment while in pre-trial detention but did not receive medical help at the prison facility to which he was later sent and his condition began to worsen.  

Damani Kaimova, Moldy’s mother, said that she attempted to get treatment for her son but her efforts were in vain. “During the last month of my son’s life, I came to the prison gates every day and asked to see him, but they let me see him only when he was dying”, she said. “I found out that he felt unwell and was not receiving treatment when he called me and asked me to try to influence the doctors. He said that they were not even giving him a drip. Trying to get the needed medicines to him was also a difficult endeavor. I would get the prescriptions and buy the medicines, but when Moldy died on July 1 2010 the prison officials brought me out a huge bag filled with all these medicines and I realized then that the medicines I had bought were not reaching to him”, she said.   

Lawyers working with Justice Initiative tried to organize treatment for Moldy Kaimov. After he died, their legal work involved ensuring criminal liability for prison staff at prison colony 2 in Tatarstan. Documents obtained from the prison show that the prison doctors wrote in Kaimov’s medical records that he supposedly refused treatment, but his family and the lawyers who visited him say that he constantly complained of the lack of medical treatment. 

In its ruling on Kaimova and others vs Russia (No 24132/12), the ECHR recognized that the Russian authorities violated their positive obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights by not protecting Kaimov’s life and not conducting an effective investigation into the circumstances of his death in detention.

“Lawyers from Justice Initiative are currently handling around 20 cases on failure to provide medical assistance in detention”, said Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer working with Justice Initiative. “We are waiting now for the ECHR decision on the case of convicted person Khakulov, who died in prison because the prison administration refused to treat his kidney failure. Prisoners often cannot get even basic medical examinations and this is also a violation of their rights. People in custody are completely dependent on the authorities. They cannot simply go to a hospital of their choice and cannot help themselves. This is why the law makes the state responsible for looking after prisoners’ lives and health”, she said. 

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