European Court for Human Rights has communicated the legal appeal made by ADC “Memorial” and lawyer Olga Tseytlina in defense of a stateless person, native of Georgia, N.G. Mskhiladze, who is being held in the centre for temporary detention of foreign nationals in Krasnoye Selo district of St.Petersburg. Mskhiladze has been held there since March 2015 with only a short break.
In December 2014 the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation issued a ruling on the undesirability of stay of Mskhiladze in Russia. Based on this decision, the chief of the Russian Federal Migration Service for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region appealed to court for permission to deport the applicant, as was required by Article 31 Section 11 of the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”. Krasnoselsky district court of St. Petersburg upheld the application of the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region and in March 2015 Mskhiladze was placed into the centre for temporary detention of foreign nationals. However, Mskhiladze’s further deportation to Georgia (as well as any other country) was not possible: he does not have proof of citizenship and Georgia earlier provided an official response stating that Mskhiladze was not a citizen of the country.
Six months later Mskhiladze was released from the detention centre because he could not be deported. But since he remained a stateless person, he was soon detained once again for violation of Russia’s immigration regulations (Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Russian Administrative Code) and he was then placed into the centre for temporary detention of foreign nationals.
The applicant’s legal representative made repeated attempts to obtain judicial review of the legality and validity of the continued deprivation of the applicant’s freedom at the detention centre for foreign nationals and asked for his release. Among other things, a legal complaint was filed in accordance with Article 5 Section 4 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with reference to an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of “Kim v. Russia”, but none of these attempts succeeded. The applicant is currently still held in the detention centre, although the Russian courts of general jurisdiction positively established that he was a stateless person and his deportation could not be executed due to the fact that no country, including Georgia, recognizes him as its citizen and that there is no country in the world which the applicant has the right to enter.
In the legal appeal to the ECtHR the applicant’s legal representative asked the court to pay attention to the conditions of detention and long-term imprisonment without the possibility of legal appeal in the case of Mskhiladze, and asked for his immediate release. In addition, the legal case of Mskhiladze was presented to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, because there is a lacuna in the Russian legislation: stateless persons can be placed in centres for temporary detention of foreign nationals for a period of up to two years, although their placement there has no sense. In the most recent judgment of Mskhiladze’s case in St. Petersburg city court, the applicant was refused release from the detention centre based on a provision in the Administrative Code, which doesn’t allow release before the expiration of the two year period when an administrative decision is to be legally performed.