Croatia Ordered to Compensate Ex-Prisoner for Poor Jail Conditions

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The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Croatia must pay 15,000 euros in compensation to Zoran Vukusic because he was kept in inhumane conditions in secure prison cells.

The European Court of Human Rights, ECHR ruled on Tuesday in favour of a former prisoner, Zoran Vukusic, awarding him 15,000 euros in compensation and an additional 4,000 euros for legal expenses because he was held in poor conditions.

Vukusic, who served time in Zagreb and Split prisons from May 28, 2011, to March 27, 2013, claimed that he was physically assaulted by prison officers on January 18, 2012, resulting in a loss of consciousness and a head injury.

To prevent further harm, he was placed in a specially secured ‘rubber cell’ two days later. The measure was repeatedly extended due to non-cooperation and threats until January 31, 2012, when he was transferred to the prison hospital.

Upon return to the Split prison on February 17, 2012, Vukusic made threats to “swallow certain objects”, leading to his placement in a secure cell with handcuffs. This measure continued until February 21, 2012, when he was transferred to Zagreb Prison.

Despite filing complaints against prison guards and seeking damages, his requests were rejected by various legal entities in Croatia.

Before the ECHR, Vukusic complained about inhumane and degrading conditions during his time in the secure cells.

The court agreed that the prolonged stay appeared punitive, as the initial reasons for protection no longer applied. The use of restraints was also deemed unnecessary since the cell was already free of dangerous items.

The ECHR found a violation of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, specifically concerning the lack of minimum personal space in the Zagreb and Split prisons.

The judgment is not final, and can be reviewed if either party submits a request within three months or if the Grand Chamber of the European Court issues a judgment.

Source : Balkaninsight