The applicant, Mr. Zarzycki, was detained as a suspect in criminal proceedings. He had previously lost both his forearms in an accident and was certified as having a first-degree disability. He was offered a full reimbursement of the cost of basic mechanical prostheses, however he stated that he would only accept bio-mechanical (kinetic) prostheses. As they were significantly more expensive, he was offered only partial reimbursement for them.
Mr. Zarzycki complained that the penitentiary authorities had failed to arrange for him to be provided with the necessary forearm prostheses in violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court emphasized that where the authorities decide to place and maintain in detention a person with disabilities, they should demonstrate special care in guaranteeing such conditions as correspond to his special needs resulting from his disability.
In the case at hand the Court was satisfied that the authorities actively looked for, and succeeded without undue delay in providing, an appropriate solution to Mr. Zarzycki's situation. It noted that the same rules of covering the costs of prostheses were applied to Mr. Zarzycki as to anyone who wished to receive such prostheses and the basic type of prostheses were provided to him free of charge. Moreover the authorities had provided the applicant with the regular and adequate assistance his special needs warranted. Therefore the Court held that even though a prisoner with amputated forearms is more vulnerable to the hardships of detention, the treatment of Mr. Zarzycki in the present case did not reach the threshold of severity required to constitute degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention.