Strasbourg finds Russia guilty of denying the right of petition to the Court
On 3 June 2010 the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Kamaliyevy v. Russia (no. 52812/07). The applicants were represented by Kyrill Koroteyev from the Memorial Human Rights Centre and Yelena Ryabinina, since Abdugani Kamaliyev is imprisoned in Uzbekistan, while his wife Maymuna Kamaliyeva, a Russian national, died in 2008.
The case concerned in particular Mr Kamaliyev’s deportation to Uzbekistan in December 2007 for a breach of residence regulations despite the European Court of Human Right’s indication to the Russian Government under Rule 39 (interim measures) of its Rules of Court not to expel him pending its decision.
Mr Kamaliyev is apparently currently serving a prison sentence in Uzbekistan for belonging to an extremist religious organisation; his representatives have had no contact with him since his expulsion. His wife died in August 2008.
The applicants raised a number of complaints about the expulsion, in particular under Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 34 (right of individual petition).
The Court found no violation of Article 8 but that there had been a violation of Article 34. The question of just satisfaction was reserved for decision at a later date. There was in fact disagreement as to whether Article 8 had been violated, and three of the seven judges issued a separate opinion explaining their reasons for believing there had been a violation.
In brief, Abdugani Kamaliyev was abducted on 23 November 2007. Once his whereabouts, despite the lies and evasion of officials in Tyumen, West Siberia, were established and it was clear that another illegal "administrative expulsion" was planned, all mechanisms were brought into play. Yelena Ryabinina from the Civic Assistance Committee organized a lawyer. Since Kamaliyev was married to a Russian citizen, and the request for his extradition had been turned down a year earlier, this should have been sufficient however following a number of illegal abductions and expulsions from Russia at the request of repressive regimes, there were serious grounds for believing that more was needed. .
An application was therefore directed to the European Court of Human Rights which on 3 December applied Rule 39 halting any expulsion pending review. The Court does this in cases where through expulsion the person could be subjected to violations, for example, torture, which could not subsequently be redressed.
The flight to Tashkent was at midnight Moscow time on Tuesday, so the Court’s notification had been faxed to Russia’s Representative at the Court more than 24 hours earlier. It was she who was responsible for taking all measures to ensure the Court’s instructions were implemented. The copy which the Civic Assistance Committee received was faxed to all relevant parties in Tyumen and confirmation was given during the day by telephone that the faxes had been received. The problem was that the officials directly responsible for forcibly getting Kamaliyev on to that plane stated that they had not been "officially told".
The Court found the arguments put forward by the Government’s representative that there had been insufficient time unconvincing.
Less than 3 months after being taken to Uzbekistan, Abdugani Kamaliyev was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on the same charges which the Uzbek side had presented a year earlier to obtain his extradition and which had then been rejected.
It is clear that under the pretext of administrative expulsion, the Russian authorities unlawfully extradited Kamaliyev.
Less than a month and a half before her death, Maymuna Kamaliyeva informed human rights activists that the authorities were trying to get her to withdraw her application to the European Court of Human Rights. This is reflected also in her statement to the Tyumen Regional Prosecutor’s Office.