ECtHR - R. T. v Greece, Application No. 5124/11, 11 February 2016

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Country of Applicant: 
Iran
Date of Decision: 
11-02-2016
Citation: 
ECtHR – R. T. v Greece, Application No. 5124/11, 11 February 2016
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights (First section)
Headnote: 

The Court found that there had been a violation of Article 3 in relation to detention conditions at Tychero. There was no violation of Article 5(1) insofar as the detention was not arbitrary and was in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law, but there was a violation of Article 5(4) in relation to the ineffectiveness of the judicial review of detention conditions. Further, there was a violation of Article 13 read in conjunction with Article 3, because the Greek authorities had deported the Applicant to Turkey, without verifying whether his asylum claim was still pending. 

Facts: 

The Applicant is an Iranian national of Kurdish origin. He left his country of origin as a child, fearing for his safety as a result of the political activities of his father. On reaching Iraq, he was placed under a UNHCR protection programme. He arrived in Greece in October 2010 and shortly thereafter was arrested for illegal entry and detained at the Tychero border post. On 3 November 2010, an order was made for him to be deported to Turkey and detained for a maximum of 6 months in the meantime, on the grounds that he posed a flight risk.

The Applicant was able to formally lodge an asylum application on 25 November 2010. In January 2011, he challenged the conditions and lawfulness of his detention before the administrative court at Alexandropouli. He argued that the conditions violated his rights under Article 3, given the overcrowding; dirtiness; limited space for sleeping, walking and physical activity; unavailability of hygiene products and clothing; lack of heating; limited communications with the outside world; and the impossibility of accessing doctors and psychological support. He also argued that his detention was illegal under Article 5, because the authorities would not be able to examine his application within the three-month legal time limit. These complaints were rejected by the administrative court.

On 10 January 2011, the Applicant was ‘inadvertently’ deported to Turkey as a result of an administrative error. The Iranian authorities having failed to identify the Applicant, as required by the Turkish authorities, the Applicant was returned to Greece on 24 January and placed back in detention at Tychero. On 1 February, he challenged the order for his detention and expulsion to Iran. He maintained that he would be at risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 for political reasons in Iran. At the same time, he requested the facilitation of his return to Iraq so that he could attend the funeral of his five-year-old son, who had died at the end of January. As a result, the Applicant was released with an order to leave the territory within 30 days. His asylum application was also rejected because he had signed a form on 27 January expressing his desire to return ‘to his country’.

Decision & Reasoning: 
Article 3
 
The Court identified a violation of Article 3 in relation to the Applicant’s detention conditions, in light of the overcrowding alone. It notably relied on recent case law as well as on reports by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and by the National Commission for Human Rights and the Mediator of the Republic.
 
Articles 3 & 13
 
The Court observed that the Greek authorities had deported the Applicant to Turkey, without verifying whether his asylum claim was still pending. As a result of this failure, it held that the Applicant had not been given access to a reliable asylum process. This meant that his rights under Article 13 read in conjunction with Article 3 had been violated. The Court highlighted that this illustrated the flaws in the Greek system at the time. 
 
Article 5 
 
The Court found that there had been no violation of Article 5(1) in relation to the Applicant’s detention, which was carried out according to a procedure prescribed by law (Article 76, Law No. 3386/2005), and for a legitimate purpose as outlined in Article 5(1)(f). The three-month period of detention was also not considered to be excessive. However, in line with its recent case law, the Court found a violation of Article 5(4) due to the ineffectiveness of the judicial review of detention in Greece. Finally, the Court held that it was not necessary to separately consider the Applicant’s claim under Article 5(2), because it had already addressed the principal issues relating to internal legal remedies. 
 
 
Outcome: 

The Court found that there had been a violation of Articles 3, Article 13 read with Article 3, and Articles 5(1) and 5(4).

Observations/Comments: 

This summary was written by Georgia Kandunias, GDL student at BPP University. 

Case Law Cited: 

Greece - Alexandropouli Administrative Tribunal - Decision No. P20/2011, 5 January 2011

ECtHR - Riad and Idiab v. Belgium, Application Nos. 29787/03 and 29810/03

ECtHR - Saadi v. Royaume-Uni [GC], Application No. 13229/03

ECtHR - Bygylashvili v. Greece, Application No. 58164/10

ECtHR - Akdivar v Turkey, Application No. 21893/93

ECtHR - Peers v. Greece, Application No. 28524/95

ECtHR - Dougoz v. Greece, Application No. 40907/98

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

ECtHR - Kudla v Poland [GC], Application No. 30210/96

ECtHR - Bati and Others v Turkey, Application No. 33097/96 and 57834/00

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

ECtHR - Shamayev v Georgia (April 2005) (Application no. 36378/02)

ECtHR - Müslim v Turkey (Application no. 53566/99)

ECtHR - Grigorievskikh v Russia, Application No. 22/03, 9 April 2009

Greece - Alexandropouli Administrative Tribunal - Decision No. P82/2011, 4 February 2011

ECtHR - A.F. v Greece (no 53709/11, 13 June 2013

ECtHR – Vuckovic and others v Serbia, Application No. 17153/11

ECtHR - Ahmet Özkan and Others v. Turkey (no. 21689/93, ECHR 6 April 2004)

ECtHR - Kalashnikov v. Russia, No. 47095/99 , § 102, ECHR 2002-VI

ECtHR - Lin v. Greece, no.58158/10

ECtHR- Kaja v. Greece, (no. 32927/03)

ECtHR - Khuroshvili v. Greece, Application No 58165/10 (UP)

ECtHR - Barjamaj v. Greece, Application No 36657/11

ECtHR - T.I. v United Kingdom (Application no. 43844/98)
Attachment(s): 
Other sources cited: 

Report to the Government of Greece on the visit to Greece carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 19 to 27 January 2011.

Findings of the National Commission for Human Rights and the Mediator of the Republic.

 

Authentic Language: 
English
French
State Party: 
Greece
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Greece - Act to the Civil Code - Section 105
Greece - Law No. 3386/2005 - Article 76
Greece - Law 3907/2011
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled 'Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons'
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled ‘Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons’ - Art 13
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled ‘Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons’ - Art 5
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 220/2007
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 90/2008