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ECtHR, XX and Others v. Spain, No. 58438/00, 2004
  • 2004
  • Spain
Terrorism propaganda Separatism Public security
Legal bases
European Convention on Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Torture, degrading and inhuman and treatment Effective official investigation into the allegations

In 1992, shortly before the Olympic Games in Barcelona, the fifteen applicants were suspected of being sympathisers of a Catalan independence movement and were arrested by Guardia Civil officers in connection with an investigation into terrorist offences. The applicants complained of ill-treatment while in custody; of receiving blows to the head and face; of being blindfolded and subjected to sleep and food deprivation. Before the ECtHR, the applicants complained under Article 3 of the Convention that they had been subjected to physical and mental torture ad to inhuman and degrading treatment on their arrest and while in custody.

Legal grounds

Article 3 of the ECHR


In the absence of medical or other evidence, the Court could not establish the ill-treatment allegations and did not hold that there had been any violation of Article 3 of the Convention. However, regarding the investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment, the Court noted the judicial authorities had dismissed all the applicants’ requests for evidence to be obtained, thereby denying them a reasonable opportunity to establish the matters of which they complained. In that regard, the Court found that there had been a violation of Article 3 on account of the absence of a thorough and effective investigation into the applicants’ allegations.