Ukrainian citizen freed from detention, orders for deportation to warzone annulled

08.12.2017
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Mrs. V, a citizen of Ukraine, has recently fallen victim of a kind of “know-how” of the Russian judicial system: she was convicted twice on the same day, September 11, 2017, during the session of the Kalininsky district court of St. Petersburg. The court made its rulings on two separate cases, ordering V. to be expelled from Russia for violation of the immigration regulations and for illegal employment. However, V. had not been properly informed about the existence of two administrative cases against her.

The court did not take into account either the fact that V. had lived in Russia for about 20 years, while being in a civil marriage with a Russian citizen, who had a disability of the 3rd degree as a result of oncologic disease and needed her care, nor the fact that expulsion to the Luhansk region of Ukraine, where armed conflict continues, constituted a threat to her life. She was deprived of liberty and detained in the center for temporary detention of foreign nationals in St. Petersburg region.

The first ruling on deportation of V. from Russia was appealed by a lawyer working with ADC lawyer “Memorial” and was then annulled. On October 3, 2017, Yu. Rusanova, the judge of the St. Petersburg city court, based on Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, recognized that deportation to the war zone was unreasonable and contrary to the principle of humanism and the requirements of international legal norms.

However, in the second case, the judge refused to reinstate the period for legal appeal, so the lawyer had to make a legal appeal to the deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg city court. The latter recognized the existence of a real threat to life and health of V. due to the current situation in the East of Ukraine. Judge’s ruling also indicated that in the situation under consideration expulsion could be recognized to be contrary to the purpose and principles of the punishment, and that it also contradicted a series of international legal norms (i.e. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, the Convention of the European Court of Human Rights). While making this decision, the judge considered it important to take into account that in September 2017 Mrs. V. had also applied for temporary asylum in Russia.

The second ruling of the district court was annulled only on November 28, 2017, after V. had spent more than two months in inhuman conditions of the temporary detention center for foreign nationals. Mrs. V.’s civil husband had come to court and had begged to release her, stating that he would die without her care. But he could not see her being finally releases, as he passed away due to strong suffering that aggravated his deadly illness. Deprived of freedom, V. could not even participate in his funeral.

Unfortunately, this is not the only case when Russian courts made illegal rulings on expulsion of Ukrainian citizens to the territories, where military operations are under way. ADC “Memorial” has repeatedly raised this problem at the international level and supported legal appeals on deportations of Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons who had previously lived in the territories, which are currently zones of armed conflict.