The police officer threatened the applicant that he would be subjected to considerable pain by a person specially trained for such purposes if he did not disclose the whereabouts of his victim – a young boy. After that the applicant disclosed where he had hid the victim’s body.
The applicant complained that he had been subjected to torture contrary to Article 3 of the Convention by the behavior of the police.
The Court accepted that motivation for the police officers’ conduct was saving a child’s life. However, it also emphasized that the prohibition of ill-treatment of a person applies irrespective of the conduct of the victim or the motivation of the authorities. The Court concluded that the real and immediate threats against Mr Gafgen for the purpose of extracting information from him attained the minimum level of severity to bring the impugned conduct within the scope of Article 3. The method of interrogation to which he was subjected in the circumstances of this case was sufficiently serious to amount to inhumane treatment prohibited by Article 3. However, it did not reach the level of cruelty required to attain the threshold of torture.