A.N. and Others v. Russia, Application nos. 61689/16 and 3 others

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Country of Applicant: 
Tajikistan
Uzbekistan
Date of Decision: 
23-10-2018
Citation: 
61689/16
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights, third section
Headnote: 

Russia had failed to substantially and effectively examine the repeated claims of the applicants that their extradition would constitute a violation of Article 3 ECHR. Given the current situation in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the individual circumstances of the applicants, a number of violations were found.

Facts: 

The case concerns four applications against the Russian Federation which were joined under the Court’s Rules due to their similarities. On various dates, the applicant’s requests for interim measures preventing their removal to their respective countries of origin were granted by the Court under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. The applicants submitted complaints under Articles 3, 5, and 8 of the Convention in connection with the pending removals to their countries of origin.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Regarding the existence of substantial grounds for believing that the applicants face a real risk of ill-treatment, the Court highlighted that it had previously established that “the individuals whose extradition was sought by either Uzbek or Tajik authorities on charges of religiously or politically motivated crimes constituted vulnerable groups facing a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention in the event of their removal to their respective countries of origin.” On the individual facts of the cases, it was apparent that in the course of the extradition proceedings the applicants consistently and specifically argued that they had been accused of religiously and politically motivated crimes.

Mindful of its previous rulings on extraditions sought by either Uzbek or Tajik authorities, the Court held that, since the applicants had consistently referred to the nature of the accusations against them, it was enough to substantiate grounds for believing that they faced a real risk of ill-treatment in their countries of origin.

Furthermore, the Court had to examine whether the authorities discharged their obligation to adequately assess such claims through reliance on sufficient relevant material. Given the simplistic rejections of the applicants’ claims and the reliance on the assurances of the Tajik and Uzbek authorities, which have been consistently considered unsatisfactory by the Court in the past, the Court held that the domestic authorities did not carry out the necessary rigorous scrutiny. In this context, the Court noted that the Russian legal system offers several avenues whereby removal could be prevented, given the risk of ill-treatment. Given the failure of the domestic authorities in this regard, the Court examined the risk of removal independently and concluded that the situation in both countries has not improved, making their return contrary to Article 3 ECHR.

Regarding the alleged violation of Article 5 § 1 due to the unlawfulness of the detention pending expulsion and the lack of foreseeability regarding its length, the Court held that a granted interim measure under Rule 39 does not necessarily lead to a presumption that there is no realistic prospect of removal and does not make detention arbitrary. However, the domestic judicial decision ordering the applicant’s detention pending expulsion contained no reasons justifying the need for detention, no analysis of the particularities of the case, and no estimation of how realistic the applicant’s expulsion was in light of the Rule 39 measure. Moreover, the decisions did not include any time-limits for review of the validity of the detention measure. Therefore, the Court concluded that the national authorities had not demonstrated that the length of the applicant’s detention pending expulsion was compliant with what was reasonably required for the purpose pursued and a violation of Article 5 § 1 was found.

However, the Court did not find a violation of Article 5 § 4 and rejected the complaint as inadmissible due to the background of the judicial process.   

Outcome: 

Application accepted as admissible. Claims partly accepted. 

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR - Savriddin Dzhurayev v. Russia, Application No. 71386/10, UP

ECtHR - Akram Karimov v. Russia, Application no. 62892/12, 28 May 2014

ECtHR - Kholmurodov v Russia, Application No. 58923/14, 1 March 2016

Abdulkhakov v. Russia (no. 14743/11)

ECtHR - Amie and Others v. Bulgaria, no. 58149/08, 12 February 2013

Ahmed v. the United Kingdom, no. 59727/13

ECtHR - Valentin Campeanu v. Romania (no. 47848/08)

Z.A. v. Russia, no. 23188/17
Authentic Language: 
English
State Party: 
Russia