Greece - Thrace Appeal Council, July 2005, Application No. 139/2005

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
07-07-2005
Citation:
139/2005
Court Name:
Thrace Appeal Council
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
Greece - Σύμβαση της Γενεύης 1951 Νομοθετικό Διάταγμα 3989/1959 (Geneva Convention 1951 Legislative Decree)
Greece - Law 4218/1961
Greece - Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 436
Greece - Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 438
Greece - Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 448
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Headnote: 

Rejection of an extradition request by Azerbaijan in a case where the wanted person had been recognised as a refugee by Germany. Azerbaijan's request for extradition because of acts contrary to common criminal law was a premise aimed at stifling the wanted person's political opposition to the extraditing country's government. Azerbaijan was requesting extradition for political reasons.

Facts: 

The wanted person, Mr K.M., from Azerbaijan, had become very politically active in his country of origin. Specifically, from 1989 to 2000 he had been a member of the “POPULAR FRONT” party and a member of the “MÜSAVAT” party from 2000. In the presidential elections which took place on 15.10.2003, he was selected to be an observer on behalf of his party in order to ensure that the election was conducted properly. The opposing political group, led by Aliyev, emerged as victor in those elections; but the validity of the outcome of the elections was questioned by his party and by observers from international organisations thus causing political bitterness. From then on there was political persecution of members of the “MÜSAVAT” party (to which the person being sought belonged) and members of the party, including him, were arrested. As a consequence of that situation he fled his country and went to the Federal Republic of Germany where he submitted an application to be granted asylum. The application was accepted by a decision of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees on 29.4.2004. Since that time Mr K.M. and his family had been living in Germany. More specifically, Mr K.M. was in possession of German travel documents for refugees and displaced persons, and a residence permit for that country. On 28.7.2005 a telex from the Greek Interpol National Central Bureau transmitted to the Thrace Appeal Prosecutor the 11.8.2004 telex from Interpol in Azerbaijan which submitted an application requesting that Mr K.M. be extradited and handed over to the relevant judicial authorities in Azerbaijan. He was to be prosecuted pursuant to an arrest warrant of 22.10.2003 for acts of hooliganism, disturbing public order and participation in similar activities, for resistance against authority, and for the use of violence. Before Thrace Appeal Council the requested person relied on his participation in the “POPULAR FRONT” and “MÜSAVAT” parties in Azerbaijan. He explained that on 15.10.03 he was selected as an observer on behalf of the party to ensure the proper conduct of the elections and, reportedly, the party of which he was a member had won and he celebrated the victory with the other members. During those celebrations they were attacked by their political rivals who had lost the election and trouble ensued. He finally fled Azerbaijan because Aliyev's rival political group was declared to be the victor and political persecution began. He was arrested and was forced to flee. When asked about the treatment that would await him if he were handed over to the authorities in his country, he told the Court that all his friends who had belonged to the political group of which he had been a member had been killed, and that he could expect a slow death.

The wanted person's status as a refugee recognised by the German authorities was confirmed by documents sent to the Court by the Federal Republic's Consul General in Thessaloniki and by the Advisor on Legal and Consular Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany's Embassy in Greece.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court held in principal that the extradition request from the Republic of Azerbaijan had correctly been introduced for hearing in accordance with the provisions of Articles 436(2) and 448 of the Criminal Procedure Code in combination with the provisions of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters which had been ratified by Greece and the extraditing state. Citing the provision of the final point in Article 438(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Court held that the extradition in question was being requested by the judicial authorities in Azerbaijan as a premise aimed at stifling the wanted person's political activities against the government in his country of origin. Evaluating the evidence put before it, the Court ruled that the extradition was being sought for political reasons.

The Thrace Appeal Council ruled in favour of rejecting the Republic of Azerbaijan's request for the extradition of Mr K.M.

Outcome: 

The Thrace Appeal Council ruled in favour of rejecting the Republic of Azerbaijan's request for the extradition of Mr K.M.