OT 12:19:01 07-12-2017 MG1218OT.013 BAEVA Tatiana
Today's judgments by the European Court on Bulgarian cases: Iraqi family in detention; ex-policeman declared unfit for work
Today, the European Court has delivered several judgments on Bulgaria, including the two below. Other judgments can be consulted at https://hudoc.echr.coe.int website
S.F. and Others v. Bulgaria (no. 8138/16)
The case concerned a complaint brought by an Iraqi family about the conditions in which they had been kept in immigration detention for a few days when trying to cross Bulgaria on their way to Western Europe in 2015. They now live in Switzerland, where they were granted asylum in July 2017. In August 2015 the applicants, an Iraqi couple and their three sons, who had fled Iraq, tried to pass covertly through Bulgaria in order to seek international protection in Western Europe. They were however intercepted near the Bulgarian-Serbian border on 17 August and arrested because they had not entered the country lawfully. They were then kept in immigration detention in a short-term holding facility in Vidin pending their transfer on 19 August to a bigger immigration detention facility in Sofia. On 31 August 2015 they settled in an open facility for asylum-seekers. Shortly afterwards, they left this facility and made their way to Switzerland.
Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention, the applicants complained in particular about the conditions in which the three minors - then aged 16, 11 and one and a half years - had been kept in the detention facility in Vidin. Submitting a video recording, the applicants alleged in particular that the cell in which they had been held had been extremely run-down, with dirty and worn out bunk beds, mattresses and bed linen as well as litter and damp cardboard on the floor; and that, as there had been no toilet in the cell, they had had to urinate on the floor. They also complained that the authorities had failed to provide them with food and drink for the first 24 hours of their custody and that the baby bottle and milk of the youngest child had been taken away upon their arrival at the facility and only given to the mother 19 hours later.
The Court has found violation of Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) - in respect of the three children (Y.F., S.F. and A.F.)
Just satisfaction awarded by the Court: 600 euros (EUR) each to Y.F., S.F. and A.F. (non-pecuniary damage), and EUR 1,000 to the applicants jointly (costs and expenses).
Yonchev v. Bulgaria (no. 12504/09)
The applicant, Ivan Yonchev, is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1954 and lives in Sofia. A former police officer, he complained about the authorities' refusal to let him have access to a file assessing him as unfit to work.
Employed as a police officer since 1977, Mr Yonchev participated in several international missions. In 2001 he applied for a position in a new mission. However, following two psychological assessments, he was told that he was unfit for the job.
In 2003 he applied under the Protection of Personal Data Act to have access to his personnel file at the Ministry of the Interior. Mr Yonchev's request was refused, first in administrative and then in judicial proceedings. In particular, the Minister of the Interior refused access in 2006 on the ground that his whole personnel file was classified; and that even if the file did contain documents which were not sensitive, owing to the presence of some classified documents, the whole file had to be protected. This decision was then ultimately upheld by the national courts in 2008.
In the meantime, in view of the negative outcome of the first psychological assessment Mr Yonchev had retired from service.
Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Mr Yonchev complained that the refusal to let him have access to his personal data had not been properly justified. He notably alleged that, during the domestic proceedings, the Ministry of the Interior had never shown that the two psychological assessments had been classified.
The Court found Violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life).
Just satisfaction awarded by the Court: EUR 1,500 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 2,430 (costs and expenses)
You can find a factsheet with statistics about the European Court and Bulgaria at http://bit.ly/2BQkCD5 and a factsheet about how Bulgaria is executing the judgments of the European Court at https://rm.coe.int/1680709740
Media Officer / Spokesperson
Directorate of Communications
Council of Europe