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Detention in windowless prison cell ruled inhumane




The human rights of a criminal held for 12 days in a windowless, continually illuminated jail cell in canton Vaud were violated, the Swiss Federal Court has ruled.

Detaining the man for that length of time in the cell violated his rights under Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention, the judges said in their July 1 ruling, requiring some form of compensation. It was not sufficient though to acknowledge that the man had been unlawfully retained.

Because the canton’s legislation allows detention on police premises for a maximum of 48 hours, two of the days were not compensated. A payment of CHF550 ($616) was ordered.

The right to monetary compensation in the present case does not rule out other forms of compensation for future cases, including the possibility of a reduced sentence, the court added.

The criminal had appealed a lower court decision that had already ruled that his rights had been violated, but refused to provide any form of compensation. 

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