Compensation for the death caused by the Prone Position with Leg-lock

The author N.K. v. Denmark complains for using of a prone position with leg-lock towards E.S., N.K.’s son, in Kolding prison, in the result of which E.S. died.

The case has been closed and reopened several times over eight years. First, the family was denied an appointed lawyer, when the court in Kolding found that there was no reasoned suspicion that E.S. had been exposed to a crime – a ruling that was only overturned in the Supreme Court. In July 2011, it emerged via the police autopsy report that up to seven prison officers had pacified E.S. with the so-called TARP method – Total Appendage Restraint Position – where both ankles and wrists are fixed on the back.
The first few years, however, end with the police, public prosecution and attorney general arriving at the conclusion that there is no criminal responsibility to be placed on the individual prison officers. The case is therefore transferred to the Correctional Service, which finds that there were things to criticize about the fixed procedure, but still does not want to accept responsibility for E.S.’s death.
In 2018, N.K. finally chooses to file a case against the Correctional Service.
In 2019 on the basis of the police investigation, the prosecution concluded that the prison officers had not used unnecessary force against E.S. The specialists stated that the most likely explanation for the E.S.’s death was that the man was deprived of oxygen, when lying on his stomach.
It is not a criminal case, but a compensation case against the Correctional Service. Requested compensation – 100 000 DKK.
The UN Torture Committee has previously commented critically on Denmark’s use of leg locks in the case of B.S., who suffered brain damage during an arrest on New Year’s Eve 1992, and who died in 2008 without regaining consciousness.
N.K. appealed to the ECHR, which in its turn invited DIGNITY as a third party intervention in May, 2023.
The case is pending in the ECHR.

15. November 2023

HUDOC 51781-22