The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has found that Russia violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – which prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment – by illegally and secretly taking part in the kidnapping and transfer of a Tajik recognised refugee to his country of origin, where he had been charged for alleged involvement with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Russia thus breached an order given by the ECtHR not to extradite the applicant to Tajikistan.
The ECtHR found that Russia violated Article 3 in three different instances: firstly, because it did not take any measures to prevent the illegal transfer of the applicant to Tajikistan, after knowing he had been kidnapped; secondly, because the ECtHR established that Russian agents had been involved in the abduction and transfer, and thirdly, because Russia has not carried out any effective investigation into these facts. In addition, the Court found that Russia had violated the applicant’s right to lodge with the ECtHR an application against the state (Article 34 ECHR) by disregarding the interim measure against deportation.
The ECtHR has already found violations of the ECHR in several similar cases. Therefore it takes the view that unlawful and secret extraditions appear to constitute a practice of the Russian authorities and orders Russia to adopt measures to protect the life and health of the applicant, who is a recognised refugee in Russia, and to find solutions to the blatant circumvention of legal protection mechanisms in extradition matters.
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 26 April 2013
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