Valdis Jasinskis was deaf and mute. He was outside a student party when he was pushed and fell down some stairs. When police attended the scene they were told of his disability, that he had lost consciousness after hitting his head against the ground and that an ambulance was on its way.
However, the police took Mr Jasinskis to a police station. Believing him to be drunk, they put him in a sobering-up cell. Mr Jasinskis knocked on the doors and walls of his cell for some time before going to sleep. However, he could not communicate with police officers because none of them understood sign language and they had taken his notepad away.
Seven hours after Mr Jasinskis had been taken into custody, officers tried but failed to wake him up. Another seven hours later, an ambulance was called to bring him to hospital – but the crew refused to take him, as they thought he was “faking” his condition.
Valdis Jasinskis was eventually taken to hospital a number of hours later, but died shortly afterwards.
Valdis’ father Aleksandrs Jasinskis took the case to the European Court of Human Rights.