EGMR: Janusz Wojciechowski v. Poland (no. 54511/11)

The applicant, Janusz Wojciechowski, is a Polish national who was born in 1950 and lives in Warsaw. The case concerns his complaint about inadequate conditions of detention. After a conviction Mr Wojciechowski was detained from June 2007 until January 2009, first in a semiopen facility and then in a closed-type facility, namely Koszalin Remand Centre. In 2007 and 2009 he lodged a number of complaints with various authorities – including the Ombudsman, the Ministry of Justice and the relevant penitentiary court – and brought civil proceedings in which he claimed compensation, alleging: deplorable conditions of detention (notably, on account of overcrowding) in Koszalin Remand Centre; inadequate medical care for a skin condition he had contracted in the remand centre through a dirty and damp mattress; and unreasonable restrictions on his attending Sunday Mass in the remand centre.

His complaints were rejected by the authorities as ill-founded in May and June 2009. However, in December 2010 the first-instance court found that his detention in Koszalin Remand Centre had been marked by serious overcrowding for a period of 309 days and awarded him PLN 5,000 (approximately € 1,200). The rest of his complaints were rejected. In particular, as concerned the allegation of inadequate medical care, the courts relied on a report drawn up by an expert dermatologist appointed during the proceedings, which concluded that Mr Wojciechowski had not contracted his skin condition in the remand centre and that he had received medical treatment which was typically prescribed in such cases. As concerned the restrictions on his right to practice his religion, the court found that Mr Wojciechowski had been authorised to attend Sunday Mass a total of four times in September and November 2008, as confirmed by the prison chaplain. This first-instance judgment was upheld on appeal in April 2011.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Wojciechowski alleged that his conditions of detention and medical care from June 2007 to January 2009 were inadequate.

  • Violation of Article 3 – concerning the conditions of detention
  • Just satisfaction: € 1,900 (non-pecuniary damage)

Press release ECHR 226 (2016) 28/06/2016

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