European Court orders Russia to find Muminov and pay him compensation
On 4 November the European Court of Human Rights issued a decision regarding just satisfaction for Rustam Muminov, applicant in the case of Muminov v. Russia, who was unlawfully handed over by the Russian authorities to Uzbekistan in October 2006. He was later sentenced in Uzbekistan to 5.5 years imprisonment. The Court ruled that the Russian Federation authorities must pay Muminov 20 thousand Euro in moral compensation.
Most importantly, “that the respondent State, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, shall secure, by appropriate means, payment of the above amount, in particular by facilitating contact between the applicant, on the one hand, and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the applicant’s representative in the Convention proceedings or any other person entitled or authorised to represent the applicant in the enforcement proceedings, on the other»
Rustam Muminov’s whereabouts are unknown, although he is probably in one of the Uzbek penal colonies.
The Court’s press release states that In a judgment of 11 December 2008, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) on account of the applicant’s expulsion from Russia to Uzbekistan in October 2006 as well as violations of Article 5 §§ 1 and 4 (right to liberty and security) concerning his detention with a view to his extradition to Uzbekistan. The question of the application of Article 41 (just satisfaction), was reserved in that judgment for a later date”
After the Judgement came into force, Muminov’s representative, lawyer Irina Biryukhova, once again wrote to the RF Prosecutor General and Russia’s Representative at the European Court asking what the authorities planned to do to reinstate Muminov’s rights which the Court had found to be violated. The responses received indicated that nothing was planned. Both made it clear they had no intention of intervening to seek Muminov’s release and his return to Russia.
The European Court’s judgment makes it quite clear that such a position taken by a member state is unacceptable.
It should be noted that the European Court extremely rarely imposes any demands on respondent states, aside from paying compensation. Experts believe that this is the first time where expulsion and extradition are concerned.
The judgment is absolutely vital since the expulsion of Muminov in direct contravention of a halting order from the Court was not the last. In December 2007, Abdugani Kamaliyev was in a like manner illegally extradited despite the Court having applied Rule 39 halting any expulsion. In Uzbekistan Mr Kamaliyev was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
There have been THREE attempts this year, thankfully unsuccessful, to hand over Uzbek refugees – European Court applicants to Uzbekistan.
This is despite repeated judgments from Strasbourg reiterating that extradition to Uzbekistan is in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention (Prohibition of torture) since there are very good grounds to believe that the person will be subjected to torture.
As Yelena Ryabinina, Head of the Right to Asylum Programme, stresses, the importance of the Court’s demand of the Russian authorities in the case of Rustam Muminov would be hard to overestimate. It means enforcement of the principle of inevitability of punishment for the state – respondent for violations of its international legal commitments.
From a press release issued by Yelena Ryabinina and information here: http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/Press/News/Press+releases/ .