Tadzhibayev v. Russia (no. 17724/2014) [Articles 3 and 13], 1 December 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The case of Tadzhibayev v. Russia relates to an ethnic Uzbek national of Kyrgyzstan who fled to Russia in June 2010 following violent inter-ethnic clashes in his region. He received a temporary residence permit. The Kyrgyz authorities charged him in absentia for various crimes in connection with the clashes and placed him on a list of fugitives. He was arrested and detained by Russian authorities in 2012, who subsequently granted the extradition request submitted by Kyrgyzstan.

He was released after a successful appeal against the extradition order. However, this ruling was quashed by the Supreme Court of Russia on the basis that the Kyrgz authorities had provided diplomatic guarantees that the applicant would not be subject to ill-treatment. Enforcement of the order was suspended as the Court indicated a rule 39 measure to prevent his extradition. Whilst extradition proceedings were ongoing, the applicant claimed asylum, which was rejected at first instance and upon appeal, in a final decision of July 2014.

The applicant complained that his extradition would violate Article 3 as his Uzbek ethnicity would put him at real risk of ill-treatment, particularly given that members of this group who were suspected of involvement in the June 2010 violence were systematically tortured in Kyrgyzstan. Further, these arguments were not adequately considered by the Russian authorities, in violation of Article 13.

The Court considered its previous case law on extradition to Kyrgyzstan in Makhmudzhan Ergashev v. Russia (no. 49747/11) where it found that torture and ill-treatment of ethnic Uzbeks by law-enforcement officers, with impunity, was widespread. Reports by UN bodies and NGOs on the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan showed that this situation had not improved. It found that the applicant belonged to a particularly vulnerable group, ethnic Uzbeks, members of which were routinely subject to treatment contrary to Article 3. In addition, his claim to be at risk of ill-treatment had not been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Russian authorities in either his asylum or extradition proceedings. It rejected the argument of the government that diplomatic assurances provided by the Kyrgz authorities provided sufficient guarantee against the risk of the applicant being ill-treated.

It concluded that the applicant would face a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 if returned to Kyrgyzstan, and there was no need to consider the Article 13 complaint separately. 

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