Administrative offense is not a ground for deportation

On June 14, 2018 the St. Petersburg city court has overruled an earlier decision of the Vyborg district court dated December 14, 2017 concerning administrative deportation of G., a native of Donetsk region of Ukraine. Earlier this person had been found guilty of a serious violation of one of the articles of the Russian Code of administrative offences, which allowed administrative arrest, and following that he had been sentenced by court to expulsion from the Russian Federation.

According to the chairman of the St.Petersburg city court, who has agreed with the position of G.’s lawyer Olga Tseitlina, “there was a real threat to life and health” of G., “given the events taking place in Ukraine”. In making such a ruing in this case, the court took into account the priority of the norms of international law, which prohibit expulsion of people to countries and regions, where they may face a threat of torture and inhuman treatment (Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms). The court of the appellate instance has separately noted the de facto impossibility of deportation because of the absence of the host state (G. is native of the territory of unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic), as well as the lack of confirmation of G.’s citizenship of Ukraine.

The court has taken into consideration the measures adopted by the government of the Russian Federation, which granted temporary asylum to citizens and stateless persons, who had previously permanently resided in Ukraine (Resolution of the government of the Russian Federation No. 690, July 22, 2014).

In the current situation the court recognized that an additional punishment in the form of deportation for committing an administrative offense, which had no relation to the violation of immigration regulations, would not comply with the purposes and principles of punishment.

Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial” believes that the Russian courts should not make rulings on the expulsion of people, who could not be sent to the country of their origin (due to lack of confirmed citizenship of these countries, existence of military conflicts or other reasons).