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In Italy, a neighbor’s noisy toilet is a human rights violation, top court rules

The sound of flushing — “aggravated by frequent night use” — compromised their quality of life and violated the right to the free exercise of daily habits established by the European Convention on Human Rights, the appellate judge said.

Italy’s top court has added a new human rights violation to a list commonly thought to include enslavement, torture and forced starvation: the sound of a toilet flushing at night, reports the Washington Post.

That country’s supreme court cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in deciding a 19-year legal battle that began when a couple living in an apartment near La Spezia complained that their neighbors’ new toilet was keeping them awake with “intolerable noises,” according to the Milan-based newspaper Il Giornale.

A lower court ruled against them, and the couple took the case to an appeals court in the northern city of Genoa. That court ordered an investigation that revealed why the toilet seemed so loud: The four brothers who owned that apartment had embedded the water tank in a nine-inch wall not far from the couple’s headboard, the Times of London reported.

For this breach, the brothers would have to move the water tank and pay the couple about $565 for every year since the device was installed — roughly $10,760 in total — the court ruled.

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