In November 2014 the ruling of European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) in case of “Kim vs. Russia” came into effect. This court ruling was crucial for the situation of inmates of centers for detention of foreign nationals, especially those of them, who are stateless persons, since they cannot be held in detention because their deportation is impossible. The claimant in this case, Roman Kim, had been placed into such a detention center and appealed this decision, referring to violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (inappropriate conditions for detainees) and Article 4 (violation of rights of detained persons for proper court control over periods of detention). Now the Russian Federation is obliged to adopt measures in order to improve the situation with the absence of court control and the conditions, in which inmates are kept in detention centers for foreign nationals. In short, Russia now has to change its practice and even some laws in order to prevent breaching of the European Convention in future.
Nevertheless, human rights defenders in Russia register more cases of not only prolonged detention of stateless persons in detention centers, but also cases of unacceptable pressure put onto some of them by the administration of detention center in Saint Petersburg (the very institution, which was subject to the ruling of ECtHR in case of Roman Kim and other inmates).
ADC “Memorial” provided legal assistance to Mr. Bayramov, an inmate of Saint Petersburg center for detention of foreign nationals, a stateless person, whose rights were violated already after the Russian Federation had admitted the problem of detention of stateless persons in Centers for detention of foreign nationals.
Bayramov was placed into the Center for detention of foreign nationals on June 15, 2014 based on the ruling of Frunzensky district court of Saint Petersburg. The court ruled that he was to pay a penalty and be placed into the center for detention of foreign nationals ahead of deportation to Georgia in spite of the fact that the court didn’t have any grounds to consider him a citizen of Georgia. In reply to a query regarding Bayramov’s alleged Georgian citizenship, Georgia has officially responded that he had not been a citizen of this country and that Georgia didn’t have grounds to accept him on its territory. Lawyer Yury Sedov made an appeal to court requesting to stop legal prosecution against Bayramov due to impossibility of its continuation and to end his detention in the center for detention of foreign nationals. The lawyer referred not only to various norms of internationals law, but also to the ECtHR’s ruling in case of “Kim vs. Russia”, which had stated that detention of stateless persons in the centers for detention of foreign nationals was illegal, because these persons couldn’t be deported.
While the court was studying the documents in this case, Bayramov told his lawyer that the staff of the center for detention of foreign nationals had forced him to admit that he had been a citizen of Azerbaijan (he had never been a citizen of Azerbaijan and had never even visited this country for once). For his refusal to admit citizenship of Azerbaijan Bayramov was transferred to a special cell for violators of the rules in the center for detention of foreign nationals, where conditions were even worse: inmates were not allowed to leave the cell, there was not enough light, the toilet was placed inside the cell, there was a terrible smell, etc. Another way of “punishing” Bayramov was deprivation of the possibility to get parcels from outside and a ban on meetings with his common-law partner, who had been forced to leave the detention center. Thus, the demands put forward in the ECtHR ruling in case of “Kim vs. Russia”, which had obliged Russia to prevent further violations of the rights of detained persons, were not observed, although Russia had been ruled to immediately improve the situation in this respect through adoption of general measures. It seems that the Russian authorities somehow consider unacceptable threats and pressure onto the detained persons, deprivation of the right to receive parcels and meet partners, overall tightening of conditions for the inmates of Centers for detention of foreign nationals to be part of these “general measures”.
Thanks to the efforts of the lawyer and human rights defenders Bayramov was finally freed: on November 13, 2014 Saint Petersburg city court considered his case and annulled the earlier ruling of Frunzensky district court concerning Bayramov’s deportation. Bayramov was freed from the center for detention of foreign nationals, thus the appeal made by lawyer Serov was satisfied in part and the case against Bayramov concerning supposed breach of Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Code on administrative violations was filed for reconsideration. ADC “Memorial” will be monitoring this case and will insist that the ruling of ECtHR comes into force.
Centers for detention of foreign nationals are affiliated with the Federal Migration Service (FMS). Recently they were renamed into “Special facilities for detention of foreign nationals and stateless persons subject to deportation from the country”.