ECtHR rules in Khanh v. Cyprus, regarding pre-removal detention conditions in Cyprus

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On 4 December, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the conditions of a police station in Cyprus that was being used to accommodate an individual prior to deportation.

The applicant, a Vietnamese national, submitted that the conditions of her detention at the police station for a period of approximately five months constituted inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 of the Convention. The Court first noted that it has previously made clear that police stations and other similar establishments are places designed to accommodate people for very short duration and are therefore not appropriate places for the detention of people who are waiting for the application of an administrative measure, such as deportation. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the national Ombudsman had both reported that the police station in question was deemed unsuitable for accommodating people for longer duration.

In terms of overcrowding, the documentation provided by the Cypriot government for the period of the applicant’s detention was incomplete, as no consistent and continuous records were kept on the precise cells in which the applicant was held and the number of detainees held in them every day. The government therefore failed to submit information capable of refuting the applicant’s allegations that the women’s wing at the police station was overcrowded and that for the greater part of her detention she was held in cells in which she had less than 3 sq. m of available space.

Therefore, the Court concluded that during the relevant period the conditions of the applicant’s detention subjected her to hardship going beyond the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention and thus amounted to degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.   



Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment