M.S.A. and others v. Russia (application no. 29957/14 and 8 others) [Article 3 and 5 ECHR], 12 December 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

On 12 December 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in case M.S.A. and others v. Russia, concerning nine applications by twelve Syrian nationals who were placed in different detention centres for foreigners in Russia. All applicants had applied for refugee status and/or temporary asylum in Russia, but only one of them was granted temporary asylum. Six of the applications left Russia of their own volition to go to third countries.

First, the ECtHR found that it was no longer justified to continue the examination of the complaints under Articles 2 and 3 ECHR and the closely linked complaints under Article 13 ECHR with regard to the applicants’ risk of death or ill-treatment in case of their return to Syria. Since the applicants had either settled on safe third countries or stayed in Russia after order for removals had been quashed, the ECtHR considered that they were no longer at risk of being sent back to Syria.

Secondly, with regard to the detention conditions experienced by two of the applicants in the Krasnoye Selo facility, the ECtHR found that it subjected them to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 ECHR. The Court also reaffirmed that it had previous found in Kim v. Russia that the conditions in that detention centre felt short of the requirements of Article 3 ECHR.

Finally, the ECtHR found that the length of detention in most of the applicants’ cases was between eleven and fifteen months, which exceeded what was reasonably required for the purpose of administrative expulsion. It also affirmed that it did not appear that the applicants had access to judicial and periodic review of their continued detention.  Therefore, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Articles 5(1)(f) and 5(4) ECHR in respect of six of the applicants, but that there had been no violation of these articles in respect of the remaining applicants since they had been detained for three and seven months, which the ECtHR found not to be a unreasonably lengthy period.


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Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment