Ivan Blokhin, was arrested on January 3, 2005, and taken to a police station for questioning after his 9 year old neighbor accused him of extortion. The police urged him to sign a confession statement, which he subsequently retracted after being allowed to speak with his guardian. Blokhin was 12 years old at the time of the arrest, and he suffered from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and enuresis. Two specialists examined Blokhin in December 2004 and January 2005, and prescribed medication and regular consultation appointments with a neurologist and psychiatrist.
The police relying on Blokhin’s confession and the statements of the 9 year-old boy and his mother determined that Blokhin’s actions contained elements of extortion. On February 21, 2005, the district court ordered that Blokhin be placed in a juvenile detention center for the next 30 days. Blokhin’s grandfather appealed the decision stating that the detention was unlawful and incompatible with his grandson’s state of health. In March of 2005 the regional court dismissed the detention order. But upon re-examination in May of 2006 the same court held that the original detention order had been lawful.
After his 30-day detention Blokhin was taken to hospital to receive treatment. Blokhin’s said that he did not receive appropriate medical care in the detention center. He was not given the medication necessary for his hyperactivity disorder and despite his enuresis disorder his access to the toilet was very limited causing him to endure bladder pain and humiliation. Blokhin also stated that inmates were kept in a large empty room, rarely allowed to go outside, and that the math and grammar classes were taught only twice a week to a group of 20 children all of different ages and school levels.
On November 14, 2013, in this case of first impression the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security); and Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (right to a fair trial). “The Court found in particular: that the boy had not received adequate medical care for his attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder and enuresis at the detention center; his detention had not served an educational purpose and had not been justified by the need to prevent him from committing an offence; and, his defense rights had been violated because his confession had been obtained without legal assistance and the statements of two witnesses whom he was unable to question had served as a basis for his placement in the detention center.” Do you think there was even adequate evidence to place Blokhin in the juvenile detention center in the first place?
Picture: USA Today