ECtHR - X v. the Netherlands (application no. 14319/17) [no violation of Article 3], 10 July 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

On 10 July 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in case X v. the Netherlands (application no. 14319/17), which concerned the removal of a Moroccan national from the Netherlands to his country of origin. The applicant was arrested in 2015 on terrorist-related charges and sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment. His asylum application was rejected on several instances. He complained before the ECtHR that his removal to Morocco would put him at risk of being subjected to treatment in breach of Article 3 ECHR, given that the Moroccan authorities would be aware of his conviction for terrorism-related crimes in the Netherlands, his association with a dismantled Moroccan militant cell and his asylum application.

The ECtHR relied upon available country of origin information on Morocco, such as the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the observations of the UN Human Rights Committee, and affirmed that ill-treatment and torture by the police and the security forces still occur, particularly in the case of persons suspected of terrorism or of endangering State security. Nevertheless, the Court does not find there to be a general and systematic practice of torture and ill-treatment, which is to be determined based on the specific situation of the person concerned.

In the applicant’s case, while it must be assumed that the Moroccan authorities are aware of the nature of the applicant’s conviction in the Netherlands, nothing in the case materials indicate that the Moroccan authorities have ever taken any steps demonstrating an interest in the applicant, or that the Moroccan judicial authorities would fail to respect the principle of ne bis in idem by prosecuting the applicant in Morocco as a terrorist because of his conviction in the Netherlands. Therefore, the Court found that the assessment by the domestic authorities was adequate and sufficiently supported by reliable and objective material and that the applicant’s removal to Morocco would not result in a violation of Article 3 ECHR.

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Country of origin information
Effective remedy (right to)
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment