ECtHR - U.N. v. Russia (no. 14348/15), [Articles 3, 5 § 4], 26 July 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Third Section of the European Court of Human Rights has given its ruling in the case of U.N. v. Russia (no. 14348/15).

The case relates to a Kyrgyzstan national and ethnic Uzbek, who currently lives in Russia. The applicant arrived in Russia after the mass disorders and inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan in 2010. Wanted by the Kyrgyz authorities on charges related to these clashes, including the kidnapping and murder of two law-enforcement officers, he was arrested in Russia in January 2014 and placed in detention. His detention extended on a number of occasions and he was released in July 2015. Following an unsuccessful appeal against the extradition to Kyrgyzstan and a rejection of his asylum application, U.N complained to the ECtHR. He claimed violations of his rights under Articles 3 and 5 § 4 ECHR.

The Court reiterated that it had previously held that there were substantial grounds for believing that the applicants would face a real risk of exposure to treatment proscribed by Article 3 ECHR if returned to Kyrgyzstan (e.g. KhamrakulovMamadaliyevKadirzhano and MamashevGayratbek Saliyev, and Makhmudzhan Ergashev). It hereby referred to the attested widespread and routine use of torture and other ill-treatment by law-enforcement agencies in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan in respect of members of the Uzbek community, the impunity of law‑enforcement officers, and the absence of sufficient safeguards for the applicants in the requesting country. As such, the diplomatic assurances and monitoring mechanism relied on by the Russia government were insufficient. In addition, the applicant’s criminal conduct did not overturn the absolute prohibition of ill-treatment under Article 3 ECHR. As the applicant belonged to a vulnerable group, the Court found that he would face a real risk of treatment proscribed by Article 3 ECHR, if returned to Kyrgyzstan.  

Furthermore, the Court reiterated that it had previously found a violation of the ECHR where an applicant was unable to bring about a judicial review during a fixed period of detention. This would also be the case if changes in the fixed period of detention would directly affect its lawfulness. In the present case, the applicant was unable to apply for a judicial review of the lawfulness of his detention for almost four months despite the circumstances that justified the review. The Court found a violation of Article 5 § 4 ECHR.

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Effective access to procedures
Effective remedy (right to)
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment