The applicant, Mr. F., was serving his sentence in Daugavpils prison. He was allegedly subjected to violence by other inmates because they knew he had acted as a police informant and was a sex offender. The prison administration frequently moved him from one cell to another, exposing him to a large number of other prisoners.
The applicant complained that the prison administration had failed to transfer him to special prison for inmates who had cooperated with police and as a result he had been subjected to violence, humiliation and physical and mental suffering in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court noted that prisoners suspected or convicted of sexual offences and prisoners who have previously collaborated with law-enforcement authorities were at a particular risk of inter-prisoner violence. The Court reiterated that the national authorities have an obligation to take all steps reasonably expected to prevent real and immediate risks to prisoners’ physical integrity, of which the authorities had or ought to have had knowledge. In the present case, the Court found that prison authorities were aware that the applicant belonged to a category of prisoners at a heightened risk of inter-prisoner violence, however nothing was done to address the applicant’s vulnerability. Furthermore despite the applicant’s repeated requests to be transferred to another prison, he had frequently been moved between different cells in Daugavpils prison exposing him to large number of prisoners. The Court emphasized that any transfers of vulnerable prisoners should form part of a carefully designed strategy for dealing with inter-prisoner violence. Taking into account that the authorities knew that the applicant belonged to a group of vulnerable prisoners, but no effective steps were taken by the prison authorities to protect the well-being of the applicant, the Court found a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.