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Russia: Transdniestria businessman awarded more than €140,000 after human rights breaches

Human rights violations by the Russian authorities have today led Strasbourg judges to award more than €140,000 to a Moldovan businessman after backing his complaints.

Eriomenco v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia (no. 42224/11)*

The applicant, Vitalie Eriomenco, is a Moldovan national and businessman, who was born in 1969 and lives in Slobozia (Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova). He had set up three limited liability companies in the self-proclaimed ‘Moldavian Republic of Transdniestria’ (MRT) and was the director of those companies at the relevant time.

The case concerned Eriomenco’s complaints about his conditions of detention, lack of medical treatment necessary for his condition, his family’s inability to visit him in prison and the search and seizure of his house.

On 29 March 2011, Eriomenco was arrested by representatives of the ‘MRT’ militia, who alleged that he had defrauded his main business partner. The same day his home was searched and sealed.

On 1 April 2011, the Tiraspol Court ordered him to be placed in detention pending trial for an initial period of 60 days, which was subsequently extended by the courts up until his conviction.

On 30 December 2013 the Slobozia Court convicted Eriomenco on various counts of fraud,sentenced him to 12 years’ imprisonment and ordered the confiscation of his property. He was released on 1 September 2016 and granted remission of the remainder of his sentence.

While in detention, Eriomenco complained of his conditions of detention in the various institutions where he was detained. He complained, among other things, of the lack of space, ventilation and access to daylight, the poor quality of the food, and the poor hygiene in his cell and the sanitary facilities. He also complained that his health had deteriorated during his detention, requiring his hospitalisation which had first been refused and had then been insufficiently long to enable him to complete a course of treatment at the hospital and receive adequate care.

Eriomenco alleged, lastly, that the ‘MRT’ authorities had not allowed his parents to visit him.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention, Eriomenco complained about his conditions of detention and the lack of medical treatment necessary for his condition.

Relying on Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security), he alleged that he had been arrested and placed in detention by unlawfully created militia and courts. He also complained, under Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence), of the unlawfulness of the search and sealing of his home and of the authorities’ refusal to allow members of his family to visit him.

Relying on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property), he alleged that the confiscation of his assets had been unlawful. He complained further, under Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), taken in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 § 1 and 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, that he had not had an effective remedy.

Relying on Article 34 (right of individual petition), he alleged that the ‘MRT’ authorities had interfered with the exercise of his right of individual petition.

No violation of Article 3 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) by Russia
No violation of Article 5 § 1 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 5 § 1 by Russia
No violation of Article 8 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 8 by Russia
No violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 by Russia
No violation of Article 13 taken in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 § 1, 8 and Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 13 taken in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 § 1, 8 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
by Russia
No violation of Article 34 by the Republic of Moldova
Violation of Article 34 by Russia

Just satisfaction: The European Court of Human Rights in its 9 May ruling, held that Russia was to pay to Eriomenco EUR 119,755 (pecuniary damage), EUR 20,000 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 3,000 (costs and expenses).

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