Three of the men, from Iraq, Palestine and Syria, were forced to wait in the airport for more than five months after being turned away at the Russian border. The fourth man, a Somalian national, lived in the transit zone for almost two years before giving up on his asylum application.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Russia had deprived the men of their liberty and subjected them to “inhumane treatment.”
The men survived thanks to weekly deliveries of food and toiletries by Russia’s UN Refugee Committee, but were not given access to basic facilities such as showers, the ECtHR found.
The Russian government disputed the claims by arguing that as the men had not crossed the Russian border, the state was not responsible for their care, despite their ongoing asylum claims.
The court awarded the men between 15,000 ($16,285) and 26,000 euros ($28,220), as well as costs of 3,500 ($3,800) euros.
None of them men were granted asylum within Russia. The men from Iraq and Syria were later sent to Denmark and Sweden with the help of the United Nations, while the Palestinian national left for Egypt after gathering sufficient funds to buy his own ticket.
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