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Mirzashvili v. Georgia - The European Court of Human Rights published decision

Mirzashvili v. Georgia (no. 26657/07)

The European Court of Human Rights partially satisfied Nikoloz Mirzashvili's suit. The decision is published on the official website

The applicant, Nikoloz Mirzashvili, is a Georgian national who was born in 1971 and was at the relevant time serving a prison sentence in Rustavi Prison no. 2 (Georgia). The case mainly concerns his complaint that he was not provided with adequate medical care for cancer while in detention.

In August 2005 Mr Mirzashvili was placed in pre-trial detention on charges of theft and armed robbery. He was convicted of those charges in October 2006 and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, the conviction and sentence being later upheld on appeal.

Before being placed in detention Mr Mirzashvili had undergone treatment for testicular cancer and had been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). Shortly after being placed in detention he was transferred to the prison hospital, where his diagnoses were confirmed and the doctors recommended a consultation with an oncologist and a special medical examination at the National

Centre for Oncology (NCO). Mr Mirzashvili stayed at the prison hospital for several months until early February 2006, without a specialist examination, receiving pain medication to treat his symptoms. After several prison transfers and given that his health was still unsatisfactory, he was again admitted to the prison hospital in late February 2006. In March 2006 he was examined by anoncologist, who concluded that the cancer had returned and that the chronic HCV had worsened. In

November 2006 Mr Mirzashvili was sent to the NCO for a course of chemotherapy, but he was not sent there again for a check-up and chemotherapy a few weeks later, contrary to the oncologist’s recommendations. During the subsequent months Mr Mirzashvili underwent chemotherapy on two occasions but during several periods in 2007 he only received treatment for his symptoms.

In March 2008, following the European Court of Human Rights’ indication, under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court (interim measures), that he should be placed in the prison hospital and provided with adequate treatment for his cancer and chronic HCV, Mr Mirzashvili was transferred to the prison hospital. Subsequently he underwent comprehensive specialist examinations both at the prison hospital and at a civilian medical institution. Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Mirzashvili complains: that he was not provided with adequate medical care during his detention; and that the material conditions of his detention, both in the two prisons where he was detained and in the prison hospital, were inadequate, in particular because of overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and lack of outdoor exercise. 

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