Imprisoned Stateless Persons in Russia: The Search for a Way Out of a Legal Dead End

May 4, 2017, Budapest.

At the Yearly Conference of the European Network on Statelessness, the expert of ADC Memorial made a presentation on the situation of stateless persons in Russia and on a new step in litigation in the interests of these people – the hearings at the Constitutional Court of the RF that took place in April, 2017.

A new publication of ADC Memorial was presented at the Conference, “Imprisoned Stateless Persons in Russia: The Search for a Way Out of a Legal Dead End”, containing an up-date of the Human Rights report “Violations of the Rights of Stateless Persons and Foreign Citizens in Light of the ECHR Judgment in “Kim v. Russia” (2016).

In the new report, the next step of litigation in the interests of the stateless persons is analyzed, which is the observation of the case of Noe Mskhiladze by he Constitutional Court of the RF on April 18, 2017. The ruling is pending, but during the hearings the lawyers defending Mschiladze with the support of ADC Memorial presented their position; the articles 31.7 and 31.9 of the Administrative Code contradict the Constitution (according to these articles, stateless people are detained in SITDFNs for up to 2 years, having no access to legal aid, waiting for expulsion prescribed by court, but they can’t be expelled anywhere). Representatives of state institutions didn’t agree with this position, but many of them agreed that the rights of the applicant were violated.

The second part of the new report, “The life in SITDFN through the eyes of a prisoner”, is based on photos and comments made by Viktor Nigmatulin, a stateless person who has been detained in Kemerovo SITDFN for many months. The Ministry of Justice recognized him as “unwanted in the Russian Federation” (as in case of Mskhiladze), that’s why his situation gets much worse.

The legislation should be changed in order to stop the discriminative practice of detaining stateless people and to make legalization and documenting them possible. In 2014, about such general measures there was a ruling of the ECHR on the case “Kim vs Russia” (won by the lawyers with the support if ADC Memorial). The Russian government hasn’t implemented the ruling so far, however, during the hearings at the Constitutional Court the authorities’ representatives conformed that the changes of the Administrative Code are planned for December, 2017, and there is a hope that since that time the courts will stop to produce rulings on expulsion and detention of stateless persons.

But the problem of legalization and documentation of stateless persons remains unsolved, that’s why the implementation of the ECHR ruling is crucial for hundreds thousands stateless persons who live in Russia and have no rights.