A European court has ruled that Italy's woefully overcrowded prisons violate inmates' basic rights and fined the government €100,000 ($131,000). It also ordered Italy to make improvements within a year.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday on a 2009 case brought by seven inmates in two prisons who complained they had to share a 9-square-meter (10.8-squard yard) cell with two other people, giving each inmate only 3 square meters (3.6 square yards) of personal space. The men also said they didn't have regular hot water or light.

The Strasbourg-based court found that the conditions violated the European Convention on Human Rights, which forbids torture and inhumane or degrading treatment.

Italian Justice Minister Paola Severino said she was "disheartened" but not surprised by the decision.