The Leningrad regional court has overruled earlier decision made by the Vsevolozhsky city court concerning K., a citizen of the Republic of Moldova, who is seriously ill and had been sentenced to deportation from Russian with prior placement into temporary detention centre for foreign nationals.
On May 11, 2018, K. was recognized by the court as guilty of violating Russian immigration regulations (exceeding the period of stay in the Russian Federation, Section 3 of Article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Offenses). He was sentenced to a fine of 5,000 rubles and administrative deportation with prior placement into the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals in Leningrad region. K.’s personal identity had not been properly established. Moreover, K. is seriously ill – he is not able to move by himself, which required special care, treatment and constant supervision by doctors. However, K.’s state of health did not prevent the court from taking a decision on deprivation of his liberty in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals, although this centre has no proper living conditions for disabled people and qualified personnel, which can provide adequate medical care. Moreover, when taking a decision on placement into the detention centre, the court pointed out that K. tried to avoid departure from the Russian Federation and the chosen punishment would not allow him to commit new administrative offenses.
This position of the court not only violated the principle of presumption of innocence, as outlined in Article 1.5 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses, but also contradicted the position of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, which had been clarified earlier in its decision in the case of Noe Mskhiladze. The Constitutional Court ruled that placement of persons in temporary detention centres for foreign nationals was not an individual punishment, but a measure aimed at further execution of deportation orders, which therefore required proof that without such restraint of liberty the deportation order could not be executed. In its decision, the Vsevolzhsky city court did not take into account the state of K.’s health and did not prove the need to deprive him of liberty for an indefinite period of time.
On May 17, 2018 lawyer Olga Tseitlina, with the support of Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial”, made an appeal to the Leningrad regional court requesting to release K., based on the state of his health and unacceptable conditions in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals. The legal complaint was accompanied by testimony of the deputy head of the detention centre, in which he stated the absence of necessary conditions for keeping disabled persons there and the lack of a license for provision of special medical assistance to disabled people, which in fact excluded placement of people such as K. in this institution.
The Leningrad regional court ruled to release K. from the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals, but only based on procedural grounds (it was recognized that in the ruling of the court of first instance the requirements for the proper personal identification of K. had been violated). K.’s state of health, to which the lawyer tried to draw attention of the court, was not taken into account.
Thus, the court ignored important considerations and testimonies of witnesses about the illegitimacy of K.’s detention in the temporary detention centre for foreign nationals, which in the future may lead to repeated placement of both him and other seriously ill people into this institution.