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Elefteriades v. Romania [Romania] [January 25, 2011]

A prisoner brought an action against the Romanian government under the European Convention on Human Rights, claiming that his exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke while imprisoned violated his right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment.  The Court rejected certain of the prisoner's allegations that were not filed in a timely manner or for which domestic legal remedies had not been exhausted.  However, the Court found that the Romanian government violated his right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment under the Convention when it held the prisoner in conditions exposing him to tobacco smoke. The Court noted that the government failed to meet its obligation to protect the health of the prisoner by failing to provide the prisoner, who had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis prior to the incidences in dispute, with smoke-free confines.

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