On 11 June 2019, the European Court of Human Rights published its judgment concerning the application of the citizen of Tajikistan, Saidmaruf Saidov against the Russian Federation. The Court concluded that Russia failed to comply with its obligations under Article 34 of the Human Rights Convention by surrendering Saidov to the Tajik authorities in contradiction to Rule 39.
Moscow city prosecutor’s office made the decision to carry out extradition of Saidmaruf Saidov to Tajikistan on 26 May 2017 despite the fact that two days earlier the European Court of Human Rights had applied Rule 39 in his respect, the interim measure barring a state from extradition of an applicant to their home state due to concerns that the applicant may be subjected to torture and degrading treatment. The law enforcement authorities claimed that they had not been timely notified of the ECHR judgment; they only found out that the removal of Saidov to Tajikistan had been adjourned by the Court after his extradition.
Saidmaruf Saidov first turned to the Civic Assistance Committee in 2017. Rosa Magomedova, the attorney of the «Migration and Law» Network of the HRC «Memorial», and attorney Olga Golub represented his interests before the ECHR, together they successfully fought for the application of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Following Saidov’s unlawful extradition to Tajikistan, Magomedova and Golub filed an application with the Court concerning the violation of Articles 3, 5 and 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The judgment on Saidov’s case was published on 11 June 2019.
In its decision, the Court concluded that the representative of the Russian Federation in the ECHR had been duly notified of the Rule 39 application more than 24 hours in advance of the removal of Saidmaruf Saidov to Tajikistan and that, taking into account the availability of modern technologies, nothing prevented the competent authorities of the Russian Federation from complying with the interim measures on prohibition of forced repatriation. By disregarding these measures, Russian authorities failed to comply with their obligations under Article 34 of the Convention (“Individual applications”). The European Court of Human Rights states resolutely, that it “does not find it necessary to elaborate once again on the importance of interim measures in the Convention system and their exceptional nature calling for maximal cooperation of the State, since these principles are distinctly well-established”.
The Court ruled as well that, by surrendering Saidov to Tajikistan, Russian authorities violated Article 3 of the Convention (“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”). International human rights organisations have repeatedly noted that in Tajikistan, torture and cruel treatment are common practice. This means that extradition to this country is only possible under exceptional circumstances.
Besides, the ECHR pointed out the violation of para. 4 Article 5 of the Convention: “Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful”.
Attorney Rosa Magomedova believes that the ECHR judgment on the application of her client is of significant importance:
“Lately, Russian authorities have been often disregarding Rule 39, in the courts I am told after the event that the law enforcement were not aware of imposition of interim measures by the ECHR. This is why it is of crucial importance to me that the European Court of Human Rights recognized that Russian authorities violated Article 34 of the Human Rights Convention. My arguments were heard. The position of Russian authorities, that the defense seized the European Court too late, does not correspond to reality, and the ECHR judgment clearly states that.
Once the official translation is ready, I am going to seize the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for re-examination of the decisions of lower-level courts on Saidmaruf Saidov’s case with consideration of the new circumstances – the recognition by the ECHR of the violation of my client’s rights under Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention”.
Russian authorities must pay the compensation in the amount of 10 000 Euro to Saidmaruf Saidov within three months. Saidov’s relatives will receive the money, as he is now in custody in Tajikistan: on 29 August 2017, Saidmaruf Saidov was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment.
Illustration by Exra Smith
Translated by Daria Gorbacheva