Ukrainian native freed from detention center

St. Petersburg city court considered legal appeal lodged by lawyer Olga Tseitlina, who was supported by ADC “Memorial”. The court reviewed an earlier court ruling concerning a native of Ukraine, who had been ordered to be expelled from Russia. City court has found expulsion from the country impossible and ruled to release the applicant.

The applicant spent about 8 months (since December 2016) in a temporary detention center for foreign nationals. Earlier the European Court of Human Rights had recognized that the conditions of detention there were inhuman (ECtHR ruling in the case of ‘Kim v. Russia’). Ukrainian Consulate General in Russia did not confirm the applicant’s Ukrainian citizenship, although the latter had come from Dnepropetrovsk, thus making his expulsion from the Russian Federation impracticable. This had also made the applicant’s detention in the temporary detention center for foreign nationals de facto unlimited and thus his detention with the view to expulsion had not pursued a legitimate and achievable goal.

Having taken into consideration an earlier decision made by the Russian Constitutional Court in the case of Noe Mskhiladze, a stateless person, which had recognized the unconstitutionality of prolonged deprivation of liberty in the absence of the possibility of deportation, the St. Petersburg city court considered it necessary to release the applicant from the temporary detention center for foreign nationals. Although the Russian legislation has not yet been brought in line with the recommendations of the Russian Constitutional Court and the ECtHR, nevertheless there are already some positive trends in the established judicial practice in Russia. Russian judges started to rule on termination of imprisonment in the temporary detention centers for foreign nationals or on termination of execution of the deportation orders. People, who have spent months and sometimes years in special detention institutions, are now being freed from detention since freedom is to be considered a rule and deprivation of liberty an exception, while any restriction of freedom must have a legitimate and achievable goal.