European Court of Human Rights
28 November 2000

Facts

The applicant, Mr Rehbock, was arrested near the Austrian-Slovenian border in Slovenia in connection with allegedly illegal transfer of medicaments to Slovenia. According to the applicant there were six masked policeman arresting him. He was attacked by them without any prior warning and dragged brutally to the bonnet of a car. Four men kept hitting him while he was being handcuffed. The Government explained that when arresting Mr Rehbock the authorities bore in mind the fact that Mr Rehbock, whom they suspected of being a drug dealer, was extremely strong as he had won the German body-building championship on several occasions.

Complaint

Mr Rehbock alleged that the Slovenian police had caused him serious bodily injury during his arrest, thus violating Article 3 of the Convention. 

Court's ruling

The Court found that the Government had not furnished convincing or credible arguments, which would provide a basis to explain or justify the degree of force used during the arrest. It concluded that the force used had been excessive and unjustified in the circumstances. Such use of force had caused injuries, which in turn had undoubtedly caused serious suffering to the applicant of a nature amounting to inhuman treatment. Thus Article 3 of the Convention has been violated.

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