Published: 3 Mar 2011

Elmuratov v Russia

Case Summary

Case No. 66317/09
Judgment date: 3 March 2011

Facts

The applicant, an Uzbek national, arrived in Russia in February 2008. In March 2008 he was charged with theft in Uzbekistan and in April 2008 his name was placed on a wanted list. He was detained in April 2009 in Russia and in September 2009 the decision was made to extradite him. The applicant claimed, in an unsuccessful asylum application, that he would be subjected to ill-treatment if returned to Uzbekistan.  He argued that he had sustained injuries while in the hands of the Uzbek authorities before.  He referred to the fact that he had been admitted to hospital on 7 June 2004, and substantiated this by an extract from the hospital medical record, as well as numerous scars. On 24 December 2009 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dismissed the applicant’s appeal against extradition and found the applicant’s detention to be lawful. He was released in April 2010, having spent the maximum legal period in detention.

Judgment

The European Court found no violation of Article 3, stating that the applicant’s claim that any criminal suspect in Uzbekistan is at risk of ill-treatment was too general, and that there was insufficient evidence of the applicant’s previous ill-treatment in Uzbekistan.

As to applicant’s detention, the Court found a violation of Article 5, as there was no judicial decision to either detain him initially or extend his detention at the necessary time. Furthermore, there was no effective procedure for the lawfulness of his detention to be judicially reviewed.

The claim under Article 13 was rejected as, although the allegations of previous ill-treatment had been raised in the asylum application, they had not been raised before the domestic courts.

The Court awarded the applicant EUR 25,000, indicating that extradition should be suspended until the judgment became final.

Comment

The Court remained critical of the situation in Uzbekistan and of Russian law on detention pending extradition. Nonetheless, it emphasised that reference to a general problem concerning human rights observance in a particular country cannot alone serve as a basis for a refusal of extradition. The Court stressed that it remained for the applicant to provide a detailed account of the specific risks he faced. The finding of no violation of Article 3, due to insufficient evidence, and the fact that it had not been raised before the domestic courts in Russia, demonstrates the importance of providing the Court with detailed witness statements and complete documentary evidence.