ICCPR Case Digest
T.V and A.G v. Uzbekistan
- Arbitrary detention
- Right to judicial review of detention
- Article 14.1
- Article 19
- Article 19.1
- Article 19.2
- Article 19.3
- Article 2.3
- Article 7
- Article 9.4
The authors of the communication are T.V. and A.G., both Uzbek nationals born in 1955 and 1968, respectively. On 7 October 2006, the authors participated in a meeting with the other residents of their apartment block, including one Sh., to discuss their opposition to a recent measure carried out by the local authorities in their building. Both authors (spouses), were arbitrarily detained and hospitalised between 10 October and 19 October 2006, having been invited to the local police station following their submission of a complaint against Sh., who had allegedly insulted and threatened the first author on on 7 October 2006. On arrival at the police station, the authors claim that, when they resisted the request that they sit in the ambulance parked outside, the second author was thrown to the floor, kicked, handcuffed and gagged before being dragged to an ambulance and thrown to the floor. The first author then tried to call relatives, but N. (the inspector responsible for crime prevention in the area) took her telephone and broke it, took the cane that she used for walking, and finally she too was forced to enter the ambulance.
The authors were then taken to the city’s psychiatric hospital, where they were separated. The second author was forced to sleep on a bare net and was detained in a room with a patient who kept waiving a razor blade at him. The first author was detained in a common room with persons with mental impairments. She suffers from Bechterew’s disease and severe arthritis, but was denied access to the numerous medications that she needs for her condition and the opportunity to walk, which also aggravated her condition. Three days later, the second author managed to contact his relatives, which finally led to the authors’ release on 19 October 2006.
The authors later found out in the context of civil court proceedings that the decision to detain them in a psychiatric hospital had been made on the basis that the authors had complained on numerous occasions to different institutions since 2002, therefore inciting the Chief Medical Doctor of the hospital to issue an order on 14 October 2006 for the creation of a psychiatric evaluation commission, as a means to evaluate the authors’ mental health.
According to the authors, the arbitrary detention in a psychiatric hospital amounts to a violation of their rights under article 9 (1), (3) and (4) of the Covenant.
They further claim that the beating and the humiliating treatment that they were subjected to for expressing their opinions violated their rights under articles 7 and 19 (1) and (2) of the Covenant.
Finally, the fact that the responsible authorities refused to investigate their case served to deprive the authors of a remedy for the violations of their rights, and the State party therefore violated article 2 (3) of the Covenant. The authors maintain that, since the prosecution refused to investigate their claims, they were precluded from doing so themselves. They claim that the above constitutes a denial of justice under article 14 (1) of the Covenant.
Regarding the authors’ claim that their treatment upon admission to the hospital and during the period of hospitalisation constitutes a violation of their rights under article 7 of the Covenant, the Committee declares this part of the Communication inadmissible on the basis that the authors have not raised this claim at the domestic level. Furthermore, the Committee considers that the authors have not sufficiently substantiated their claim regarding a violation of their rights under article 9 (3) of the Covenant, and therefore conclude that it is also inadmissible. However, the Committee considers that the authors have sufficiently substantiated their claims raising issues under article 9 (1) and (4) of the Covenant; article 7, read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3); article 19 of the Covenant insofar as they relate to the authors’ involuntary hospitalisation per se; and article 14 (1) of the Covenant, for the purposes of admissibility. Accordingly, it declares the above claims admissible and proceeds to their examination on the merits.
The Committee observes that the State party has failed to present any pertinent explanations or arguments in the present case that involuntary hospitalisation was necessary and served the purpose of protecting the authors from serious harm or preventing injury to others. Furthermore, the State party has not responded to the findings of the Ombudsman’s office, which confirmed the abuse of authority and violation of the procedure prescribed by the national legislation when the authors were apprehended and involuntarily hospitalised. The Committee thus finds that the authors’ committal to the psychiatric hospital and holding there for nine days was unlawful and arbitrary under article 9 (1) of the Covenant.
Moreover, in the Committee’s view, the authors’ right to challenge their detention was rendered ineffective by the State party’s failure to serve the committal order on them prior to or during the initial period of their detention. Therefore, in the circumstances of the present case, the Committee finds a violation of article 9 (4) of the Covenant.
Lastly, the Committee is of the view that, in the present case, the authors’ involuntary hospitalisation for nine days for allegedly disturbing the work of the President of the Quarter’s Committee with their numerous complaints amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, within the meaning of article 7 of the Covenant.
In the light of the finding of the violation of articles 9 (1) and (4) and 7 of the Covenant, read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3), the Committee will not examine separately the authors’ claims under articles 14 (1) and 19 of the Covenant.
The Committee is therefore of the overall view that the State party has violated the authors’ rights under articles 9 (1) and (4) and 7, read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3) of the Covenant
Pursuant to article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy. The State party is obligated, inter alia, to take appropriate steps to:
- conduct an impartial, effective and through investigation concerning the authors’ apprehension on 10 October 2006 and their unlawful hospitalisation until 19 October 2006 in the city’s psychiatric hospital, and prosecute and punish appropriately those responsible;
- and provide the authors with adequate compensation and reimbursement of any legal costs incurred by the authors.
The State is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
The Committee also wishes to receive from the State party, within 180 days, information regarding the measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s Views. The deadline for this information is therefore 11 September 2016. The State party is also requested to publish the present Views, and to have them widely disseminated in Uzbek and Russian in the State party.