E.K v Greece: ECtHR judgment finds violation of Article 5(4) and no violation of Article 3 or Article 5(1)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

On 14 January, the ECtHR published its judgment in E.K. v Greece (application no. 73700/13).

The case concerns E.K., a Turkish national, who was arrested at Tychero by border authorities. He was given a two-year suspended sentence of imprisonment for illegal entry into Greece. On the same day, E.K. was re-arrested with a view to deportation and detained at the Soufli border post. He was later transferred to the premises of border post at Feres and subsequently transferred to the Attica Aliens Sub-Directorate (Petrou Ralli). Finally, he was transferred to the Amygdaleza detention centre. The applicant previously submitted an application for asylum.

The applicant complained of the conditions of the detention of the applicant in Souflli, Feres, Petrou Ralli and Amydaleza. The ECtHR referred to several reports by international organisations and in particular, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture’s report (CPT) on the conditions at the detention centres around the time of the applicant’s detention. On the basis of the reports, the ECtHR concluded that the conditions of detention of the applicant in each of these premises did not exceed the threshold required by Article 3 ECHR.

The applicant also complained that his detention was arbitrary, stating that the authorities refused to register his asylum application, his detention was automatically ordered with a view to his deportation, he was re-arrested after his suspended sentence and was detained while he was an asylum seeker. On the facts, the ECtHR considered that applicant’s detention was lawful and fell within the ambit of Article 5(1)(f) ECHR. In relation to the application for asylum, the ECtHR recalled that it followed from domestic law that if an application suspends the enforcement of the deportation order, it does not necessarily suspend the enforcement of a detention order. Accordingly, no violation of Article 5(1) ECHR was found.

Lastly, the applicant complained about the effectiveness of the judicial review of his detention, alleging that the administrative courts had not provided sufficient answers to his objections, and in particular, that his allegations concerning the conditions of his detention were never addressed. The ECtHR held that in E.K.’s case, he did not benefit from a full review of the lawfulness of his detention and given that the ECtHR has found violations in several previous cases relating to the conditions of detention, objections of that nature deserve a full response from the relevant administrative court. In that context, the ECtHR found a violation of Article 5(4) ECHR.

Photo: Outlandos [ym], February 2016, Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                               

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