ADC “Memorial” continues to pursue release of stateless persons from detention center

03.12.2014
This post is also available in: Russian

On November 25, 2014 lawyer Olga Tseitlina managed to get overruling of earlier court decision made by Kirovsky district court of Saint Petersburg on February 7, 2014 in the case of Ilgar A., who had left his country of origin as a child, had lived in Russia for almost his entire life and had the right to get Russian citizenship. In spite of all this, Ilgar was charged with violation of Article 18.8 Section 3 of the Code of administrative violations, ruled to pay Rb5,000 in penalties and to be placed in the Center for detention of foreign nationals for Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region for further deportation from Russia. The lawyer’s appeal against this court ruling stated that the court had ignored legally important circumstances of the case (defendant’s identity had not been properly checked, as well as his citizenship, the possibility of execution of court decision was not considered, as well as the fact that there was not state, which could accept the defendant after deportation), while the period of detention was not specified.

Ilgar as a child entered Russia from Azerbaijan back in 2002 together with his family, then entered a school and later a shipbuilding technical school, he had never left the territory of the Russian Federation since and didn’t have citizenship of Azerbaijan. Ilgar spent 10 months in detention in the Center for detention of foreign nationals in spite of the fact that the general consulate of Azerbaijan in Russia had responded back in April 2014 to a request concerning his citizenship and had informed the Russian authorities that Ilgar had never been a citizen of Azerbaijan. While making a legal appeal against Ilgar’s detention in the Center for foreign nationals, the lawyer referred to the fact that violation of Article 5 Section 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been earlier admitted by the European Court of Human Rights in case of “Kim vs. Russia” and that a person could not be held in detention in case his deportation from the country was legally impossible.

On November 24, 2014 lawyer Olga Tseitlina and ADC “Memorial” managed to get another court decision over-ruled – this was the case of A.Nikanorov, another stateless person, who had been detained in the Center for foreign nationals for over a year, since September 12, 2013, and charged with violation of the same Article 18.8 Section 1 of the Code on administrative violations. The court established that he had arrived to Russia in 2007 from Crimea. Ukrainian consulate had responded to the court on January 10, 2014 and had stated that it could not confirm that Nikanorov had Ukrainian citizenship. Nevertheless the defendant was kept in the Center for detention of foreign nationals for another 11 moths without any indication of the period or purpose of detention in spite of complete impossibility of deportation and absurdity of the very idea of deportation of a citizen to Crimea, a territory recently annexed by Russia, because all the people living there were allowed to live in Russia and get Russian citizenship. During the period of his detention in the Center for foreign nationals, Nikanorov’s health has considerably deteriorated, he had survived a second stroke, suffered from partial speech and memory loss, had troubles walking and generally required medical assistance, which was absent in the Center for detention of foreign nationals (inmates are taken to a separate medical center as a rule).

It is noteworthy that in both cases described above, the bailiffs, who were in charge of deportation, took an active stand: they had appealed to Oktyabrsky district court (that is where the Center for detention of foreign nationals is located) and requested to stop execution of rulings on deportation due to their impossibility because of the lack of documents of stateless persons. In June 2014 the court refused both of these appeals, ruling to identify citizenship of the detained, and since this was impossible, these persons remained in custody for another half year for no reason. It was only in November this year that lawyer Olga Tseitlina managed to get over-ruling of earlier court decisions concerning deportation and detention of Ilgar A. and A.Nikanorov.