N.M. v Russia: Extradition to Uzbekistan on charges of religious crimes amounts to violation of Art 3 ECHR

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

On 3 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) published its judgment on the risk of ill treatment in the event of extradition to Uzbekistan.

The applicant, a Kazakhstan national, was charged with religious extremist crimes in Uzebkistan in May 2015. After an international search warrant was issued, the applicant was arrested in August 2016 and detained pending extradition in Russia. The applicant complained that he would be subject to ill treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR in the event of return to Uzbekistan as a result of his criminal charges.

The Court noted that it has previously ruled on the similar issue concerning the removal of individuals from Russia to Uzbekistan. In the present case, the Court noted that the applicant had consistently argued that he had been prosecuted for religious extremism and faced a risk of ill treatment if returned to Uzbekistan. Indeed, Uzbek authorities had directly identified the applicant with a group previously found by the Court to be at risk of ill treatment. It therefore held that Russian authorities had substantial grounds for believing the applicant would face ill treatment upon return.

The Court found that the domestic authorities had failed to carry out a rigorous scrutiny of the risk of ill treatment. Indeed, the authorities’ assessment largely presented simplistic reasoning for the rejections of the applicant’s arguments and demonstrated a reliance on assurances of safety by Uzbek authorities. For these reasons, the Court found that Russian authorities had failed to adequately assess the risk of ill treatment in the event of extradition and, in its own assessment, concluded that the applicant would be exposed to a risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 in the event of return to Uzbekistan. The Court therefore held that there would be a violation of Article 3 ECHR if the applicant were extradited to Uzbekistan.

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 pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.

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Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment