ECtHR Again Finds Extended Detention of Stateless Persons in Detention Centers Illegal

29.01.2019
This post is also available in: Russian

On January 29, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in case no. 23019/15 Alimuradov v. Russia holding that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security of person) and Article 5 § 4 (speedy review by a court of the lawfulness of detention) and a judgment in case no. 8279/16 Mardonshoyev v. Russia holding that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1.

The applicant in the first case is I. Alimuradov, a stateless person and native of Azerbaijan. Even though he has lived in Russia since he was a child and has the legal right to RF citizenship, he was not able to obtain it due to Russia’s lack of an effective legalization procedure for stateless persons. In 2014, Alimuradov was found guilty of violating residence rules and was confined in a special facility for the detention of aliens run by the Saint Petersburg Office of the Russian Federal Migration Service, where he spent six months in extremely difficult conditions. The court’s failure to properly establish his identity and citizenship, determine if the ruling could be executed, or consider that Azerbaijan’s consulate confirmed that he was not an Azerbaijani national led to his extended detention.

Through the efforts of attorney Olga Tseytlina in cooperation with ADC Memorial, the court’s ruling was successfully appealed and Alimuradov was released. However, his expulsion was replaced with voluntary departure, which also could not be executed, since Alimuradov did not have any documents that would allow him to leave the Russian Federation. Alimuradov was rearrested two months later for failing to execute the removal decision, but this time the judge declined to prosecute him, thereby ending proceedings in the case.

The applicant in the second case is Kh. Mardonshoyev, a stateless person and native of Tajikistan. In 2014, Mardonshoyev’s residence in Russia was found undesirable by the Arkhangelsk Oblast office of the Federal Migration Service. Under this office’s decision, Mardonshoyev was to leave Russia within one month, but he was not able to do this because he did not have any documents. A court found him guilty of violating residence rules by failing to enforce the decision and confined him in a special facility for the detention of aliens in Arkhangelsk Oblast and then to a similar facility run by the Saint Petersburg Office of the Russian Federal Migration Service, where he spent a total of nine months in terrifying conditions, just like Alimuradov. The court announced that the applicant would be deported, even though Tajik authorities reported that Mardonshoyev was not a Tajik national. Bailiffs and the Federal Migration Service office attempted to have his expulsion annulled, but the court determined that even an apatride can be removed from Russia and that the applicant’s extended detention was not without grounds, even though there were no prospects for removal. Mardonshoyev was only released after his attorney Yuri Serov spend months appealing this decision.

The applications regarding illegal extended confinement of stateless persons in inhuman conditions filed by the attorneys Olga Tseytlina on behalf of I. Alimuradov and Yuri Servov on behalf of Kh. Mardonshoyev concern the violation of the rights not just of these two applicants, but of thousands and thousands of people living in the Russian Federation who are not nationals of any country and are either being held in expulsion centers or are living under the constant threat of detention. Despite numerous ECtHR judgments, Russia has yet to introduce judicial oversight of the terms and grounds for holding stateless persons in special detention facilities for aliens. Meanwhile, stateless persons continue to be held in detention even though their removal is impossible and legalization procedures have not yet been determined at the legislative level.