Courts refuse deportation to South-Eastern Ukraine, but victims of war are prosecuted for violation of immigration regulations

In December 2014 Saint Petersburg city court ruled to free Mr. A., a Ukrainian citizen, from the Center for detention of foreign nationals and annul earlier court ruling on his deportation from the Russian Federation. Earlier A. was charged with violation of immigration regulations (Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Code on administrative violations) and on May 4, 2014 a Saint Petersburg district court ruled that he was to pay Rb7,000 in penalties and be placed in the Center for detention of foreign nationals. Legal interests of A. were represented by lawyer Yu.Serov based on an agreement with ADC “Memorial”.
A. has spent over half a year in the Center for detention of foreign nationals in Saint Petersburg, while he had earlier filed an appeal in order to get temporary asylum status in the Russian Federation. City court agreed with the arguments presented by the defense, which claimed that the district court had not taken into account the situation in South-Eastern Ukraine at that time and that deportation of A. possessed a threat to his life. The city court’s ruling of December 16, 2014 reads that due to a complicated political situation in the Ukraine an additional penalty in the form of deportation could not be considered “adequate to the aims and principles of prosecution”.
ADC “Memorial” is also aware of another similar case and a court ruling on the case of a person of Roma origin from Donetsk (Ukraine), who had escaped to Russia and in whose case the court ruled just a penalty for violation of Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Code on administrative violations, without further deportation from the country. In September 2014 Sergiyev Posad city court of Moscow region ruled in the case of Mr. L., a Ukrainian citizen from Donetsk, that: “the sanctions for violation of Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Code on administrative violations include administrative penalty as well as administrative deportation from the Russian Federation. However, Mr. L. is a registered resident of Donetsk, Ukraine, and it is common knowledge that military conflict is taking place in the Ukraine now. Based on Article 21.5 of the Convention on human rights and basic freedoms, given the priority of a person’s life and health over the interests of the state established in the international law, given the fact that there is no indication of higher public interests of the Russian Federation over the right of Mr. L. for personal security, the court rules that he should be subjected to administrative penalty payment without further administrative deportation from the Russian Federation”.
It is evident that people, who had to flee from the zone of military conflict and are seeking asylum in the Russian Federation, should not be charged with violation of administrative regulations on immigration at all. The rules concerning their stay in Russia should be reconsidered and changed, they should not be subjected to penalties for immigration violations, let alone detention in the Centers for detention of foreign nationals, where people are often held for years. These people shouldn’t be threatened with deportation to the zones of military conflict, where civilian population risks becoming war casualties.