Court freed a Georgian citizen from detention, citing the European Convention on Human Rights

St. Petersburg City Court, having considered the legal complaint lodged by lawyer Yury Serov, considered an earlier court ruling concerning expulsion of K., a Georgian citizen whose wife and child are Russian citizens, ruled that it was a violation of the right for family life. The court also ruled to free K. from the centre for detention of foreign nationals, where he had been kept for more than six months to ensure his expulsion.

In March 2018 the Kalininsky district court of St. Petersburg ruled that K. was guilty of violating the regulations on the stay in the Russian Federation and sentenced him to a fine and expulsion. The court did not take into account the fact that K. had lived in Russia with his wife and son, citizens of the Russian Federation, thereby violating K.’s right for family life.

Taking into account Article. 8, Section 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which does not allow interference by public authorities in the exercise of the right for family life, and also considering the impossibility for K. to receive a permit for temporary residence in the Russian Federation for 5 years, which makes it impossible for him to organize his family life, the court considered it necessary to release K. from the centre for detention of foreign nationals. However the court haven’t completely dismissed the charges, but only replaced expulsion from the country with an independent, controlled exit.

Anti-Discrimnation Centre “Memorial” welcomes the fact that K. was released from the centre for detention of foreign nationals, but expresses its concern about the common practice of court rulings on expulsion of foreign citizens, who have close relatives in the Russian Federation, even though there is a mechanism that allows them to be fined in certain circumstances. Thus, K., same as many other foreigners, became a victim of judicial arbitrariness. His life plans were violated, he spent several months in detention and can now be convicted again if he does not leave the territory of the Russian Federation. The judicial practice of Russian courts to rule on expulsion and placement of persons, who have close relatives in Russian Federation, into detention centres for foreign nationals should be immediately abolished.