ECHR Blocks the Extradition of Chechen Asylum Seeker in Bulgaria
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has notified that Bulgaria should not extradite a Chechen asylum seeker to the Russia Federation becasue his extradition will be a violation.
Here is the press releases:
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ECHR 081 (2014)
The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing the following judgment.
M.G. v. Bulgaria (application no. 59297/12)
The applicant, M.G., is a Russian national of Chechen origin, who was born in 1965. He is currently in prison in Sofia. The case concerns the request for his extradition to Russia. In October 2003 his home in Ingushetia was searched by officers of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (“FSB”). They discovered weapons of all calibres, together with munitions, explosives and toxic chemical agents. An FSB investigator in Ingushetia subsequently accused M.G. of being involved in an armed group, preparing terrorist acts, and trafficking in arms, munitions, explosives and toxic substances as a member of an armed group. The court in Ingushetia issued an arrest warrant against M.G., and the Russian authorities issued a wanted notice. In the meantime, in March 2004, M.G., his wife and his three children entered Poland, where they obtained refugee status. In December 2005 M.G. and his family moved to Germany, where they were also granted refugee status on humanitarian grounds. In July 2012 M.G. was intercepted with his family when his car was stopped for an identity check while crossing the Romanian-Bulgarian border. The Bulgarian court ordered his detention until the end of the extradition procedure. The Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation sent the official extradition request to the Bulgarian Minister of Justice. The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees sent a letter to the court pointing out that M.G. held official refugee status in Poland and Germany, that the decisions to grant such status had been justified by the danger of persecution in his country of origin and that this danger was still extant. On 23 August 2012 the Bulgarian court dismissed the request for M.G.’s extradition. The public prosecutor’s office appealed and the court of appeal ruled in favour of extraditing M.G., ordering his continued detention pending his extradition. On 14 September 2012 the Court decided, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (interim measures), to indicate to the Government that M.G. should not be extradited to the Russian Federation for the duration of the proceedings before the Court. Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, M.G. contended that if his extradition to the Russian Federation were to go ahead, he would run a serious risk of suffering torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment.
Violation of Article 3 – in the event of the applicant’s being extradited to Russia
Interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) – not to extradite the applicant to the Russian Federation – still in force until judgment becomes final or until further order.
Just satisfaction: The Court held that the finding of a violation constituted sufficient just satisfaction for any non-pecuniary damage suffered by the applicant and awarded him 2,377 euros (EUR) for costs and expenses.