ECtHR - Khamrakulov v. Russia, Application no. 68894/13, 16 April 2015

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Country of Applicant: 
Kyrgyzstan
Date of Decision: 
16-04-2015
Citation: 
Khamrakulov v. Russia (Application no. 68894/13), 16 April 2015
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights, First Chamber
Headnote: 

The European Court of Human Rights found that extraditing a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek ethnic origin from Russia to Kyrgyzstan would give rise to inhumane and degrading treatment prohibited by article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It was also found that the repeated delays by the Russian authorities in hearing the applicant’s appeals against his detention in Russia constituted a violation of his article 5 para 4 rights to a speedy judicial decision on the lawfulness of the applicant’s detention between January 2013 and January 2014.

Facts: 

The applicant is a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek ethnic origin who left Kyrgyzstan for Russia and had been living there since 24 September 2010.

On 3 February 2010 he was charged by the Kyrgyz authorities with violent crimes committed in June’s 2010 inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan, namely participation in mass rioting, kidnapping, destruction and damage of property and was subsequently put on a wanted list. On 25 January 2013 he was arrested in Russia, with Kyrgyz authorities confirming their intention to seek his extradition.

On 26 January 2013 the Babushkinskiy District Court of Moscow ordered the applicant’s detention until 24 March 2013 with a view to extradition. Before the end of the detention, the Court had repeatedly extended the applicant’s detention until 24 January 2014. He was finally released on 22 January. All of his appeals against the subsequent detention orders were dismissed.His application for refugee status was also rejected based on the argument that he had not provided the authorities with sufficient proof that he was at real risk of prosecution if removed to Kyrgyzstan on the grounds of his Uzbek origin and for a crime he had not committed.

The applicant alleged that his extradition to Kyrgyzstan would expose him to ill treatment in breach of article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment).

He further complained that the judicial review of his detention had been neither speedy nor effective, in violation of article 5 para 4 of the Convention.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Concerning first the admissibility of the case in which the Russian Government have stated that the applicant had not exhausted all domestic remedies, the Court reiterated that such exhaustion requires an applicant to have recourse to available and sufficient remedies within the national legal system. As for the Government’s argument that the applicant should have lodged cassation appeals, the Court cited its ruling in Gayratbek Saliyev v. Russia(Application no. 39093/13) that no such obligation exists. As for temporary asylum, the Court reiterated that such exhaustion requires an applicant to have recourse to available and sufficient remedies within the national legal system [61].

With regards to the merits of the case, the Court noted that the general human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan had not improved since the examination of Makhmudzhan Ergashev v. Russia ( Application no. 49747/11)as evidenced from reports of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and respected international NGOs, as well as the Court’s case law.

Taking cue from Saadi v. Italy (no. 37201/06), the Court reiterated that where an applicant alleges that he/she is a member of a group systematically exposed to a practice of ill-treatment, the protection of article 3 applies as long as the applicant establishes the existence of the practice in question as well as his/her membership of the group concerned.

Taking into account the widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of the Kyrgyz’s authorities to obtain confessions from ethnic Uzbeks charged with involvement in the riots of June 2010, the Court is satisfied that the applicant belongs to a particularly vulnerable group, systematically subjected to treatment proscribed by article 3 of the Convention.

Further, the assurances provided by the Kyrgyz authorities to the Russian Federation that the applicant would not be subjected to inhuman or degrading punishment and that Russian diplomatic staff would visit him in detention do not constitute an independent/reliable monitoring mechanism and therefore cannot be taken into account.

As regards the applicant’s complaint under article 5 para 4 of the Convention, the Court recognized that the amount of time it took the Moscow City Court to examine the applicant’s appeals against the first-instance detention orders in the present case was excessive and therefore not in compliance with article 5 para 4 of the Convention.

Outcome: 

Violation of article 3 in the event of the implementation of the extradition orders against the applicant.

Violation of article 5 para 4on the account of the length of the proceedings in the applicant’s appeal against the detention orders.

Just satisfaction: The Court awarded the applicant EUR 5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 3,100 in respect of costs and expenses. 

Observations/Comments: 

Following a Rule 39 interim measure of the Court the applicant was released from custody on 22 January 2014

Case Law Cited: 

Bakoyev v. Russia (no. 30225/11)

Decision of the Commission X. v. UK from 12 March 1981, application no 8160/78

ECtHR - Mamatkulov Askarov v Turkey, Applications nos. 46827/99 and 46951/99

ECtHR - Mooren v. Germany [GC], Application No. 11364/03

ECtHR - Baranowski v Poland, Application No. 28358/95

ECtHR - Rehbock v. Slovenia, Application No. 29462/95

ECtHR - Klein v. Russia, Application No. 24268/08

Makhmudzhan Ergashev v Russia (no. 49747/11)

Fadeyeva v. Russia, (no. 55723/00)

Abdulkhakov v. Russia (no. 14743/11)

Gayratbek Saliyev v. Russia, (no. 39093/13)

Klein v. Russia, (no. 24268/08)

Umirov v. Russia (no. 17455/11)

Nizomkhon Dzhurayev v. Russia, (no. 31890/11)

Lebedev v. Russia, (no. 4493/04)

Jablonski v. Poland, (no. 33492/96)

Yefimova v. Russia, (no. 39786/09)
Attachment(s): 
Authentic Language: 
English
State Party: 
Russia
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Russia - Criminal Procedures Code