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ECtHR, XX v. France, No. 59450/00, 2006
  • 2006
  • France
Membership in a terrorist organisation Public security
Legal bases
European Convention on Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Torture, degrading and inhuman and treatment Right to an effective remedy Solitary confinement

The applicant was placed under investigation in connection with a series of terrorist attacks carried out in France and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997. From August 1994 to October 2002 he was held in solitary confinement. The reason given to prolong his detention in solitary confinement was his dangerousness, the need to maintain order and security in the prison and the risk of his absconding. Regularly, the applicant underwent medical examinations to determine his health for solitary confinement. From July 2000 onwards, the doctors refused to certify the applicant’s fitness to remain in solitary confinement. In October 2002, the applicant was transferred to the ordinary prison regime and back to solitary confinement from 2004 onward. The applicant complained that his solitary confinement had violated Article 3 of the Convention and that the authorities had not followed the correct procedure for prolonging his solitary confinement under Article 13 of the Convention.

Legal grounds

Article 3 of the ECHR; Article 13 of the ECHR


The Court held that there has been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the length of time the applicant had spent in solitary confinement. Having regard in particular to his character and his dangerousness the conditions in which the applicant was held during solitary confinement had not reached the minimum level of severity necessary to constitute inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3. However, the Court held that there has been violation of Article 13 of the Convention as the French law had not provided enough remedy to allow the applicant the contestation of the decision to prolong his detention in solitary confinement.