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18.12.2008

Strasbourg prohibits extradition of Uzbek refugee

   

The European Court of Human Rights has allowed the application made by Abdumalik Bakaev and his lawyer Viacheslav Yakubenko and applied Rule 39 halting any possible extradition to Uzbekistan pending examination of his case by the Court.

As reported already, on 6 November  Bakaev lodged an application with the Kyiv Migration Office for refugee status since he had suffered persistent persecution for his political and religious activities,, and had been twice convicted. According to Memorial he had been subjected to torture in Uzbekistan. His asylum application is presently under review

Despite this, on 4 December he was detained at the same address that he had given in his application for asylum by police officers on the request of the Uzbekistan authorities. Since the Constitution prohibits holding a person in custody for more than 72 hours without a court order, when the 72 hours elapsed, the police “released” him in order to immediately “detain” him again.

Fortunately, however, the following day on 8 December, the court ruled that Bakaev should be released from custody.

As well as the details provided yesterday, it was also learned that on 7 December, with the period allowed for detention without a court order (72 hours) having expired,  Bakaev  was “released” and still in the Holosiyivsky police station detained for a further 3 days.

He was properly released only on 8 December in the courtroom.  According to Viacheslav Yakubenko, the main argument in  Bakaev ’s favour was the recent precedent set by the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment on the case of Izmoilov and others v. Russia from 24 April 2008. (see the reports about the “Ivanovo Uzbeks”).  In that case, the Court found that extradition of the Uzbek nationals to Uzbekistan would be a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights since it was well-known that torture and ill-treatment by the law enforcement agencies was common.

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