Communicated case against Belgium (application no. 43966/19)

Friday, December 18, 2020

The case of N.M. against Belgium (application no. 43966/19) concerns an Algerian national, who fled his country of origin after having spent time in prison and suffering torture. In Belgium, he applied for international protection on several occasions, and was eventually convicted, inter alia, for his participation in the activities of a terrorist group. Upon his conditional release from prison, he was placed in administrative detention pending removal and subject to a solitary confinement for a large part of this time. This detention lasted from 20 September 2017 until 20 March 2020, when he was transferred to a reception centre. 
The ECtHR indicated temporary interim measures under Rule 39 in relation to removal of the applicant. Subsequently, several Belgian courts suspended his removal pending the decision of the Council of State (CS), which is still pending at the time of communication. 
While in detention, N.M. was condemned for membership of a terrorist group and lodged several new applications for international protection. They were all rejected on the basis of the exclusion clauses from international protection. Against the latest rejection, he lodged a non-suspensive cassation appeal before the CS. 
N.M. complains that his detention, or at least part of it, was not justified under Article 5(1)(f) ECHRinter alia, because it was implemented for the protection of public order and not with a view to removal. He further complains, inter alia, that part of his detention was arbitrary, disproportionate, unreasonably long and that his detention conditions were unsuitable for his age and state of health. 
Moreover, N.M complains of a violation of Article 3 and 8 ECHR, given the impact that the circumstances and consequences had on his physical and psychological integrity and private life; and of a violation of Article 5(4) due to a lack of an effective remedy.
The ECtHR addressed a number of questions to the parties regarding compliance with Article 3, 5(1)(f), 5(4) and 8 ECHR. 
Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU Team.

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