G.B. and Others v Turkey: Multiple violations found in case concerning detention pending expulsion

Thursday, October 17, 2019

On 17 October 2019, the European Court of Human Rights published its ruling on the case of G.B. and Others v Turkey (Application No. 4633/15). 
The case concerns the detention pending expulsion of a mother and her three children. The applicants, all Russian nationals, were arrested for attempting to cross the Syrian border after entering Turkey in October 2014. The family were transferred to the Kumkapı Removal Centre and an order for the mother’s deportation was issued. In November 2014, the family sought international protection status. This request and all subsequent appeals were rejected and the family were transferred to the Gaziantep Removal Centre. On 5 February 2015, the Gaziantep Magistrates Court ruled the detention of the applicants was unlawful and the family were released five days later.
The applicants complained under Articles 3, 8 and 13 ECHR that the material conditions of detention in the Kumkapı and Gaziantep Centres were unsuitable for their mental and physical health, particularly for the children, and no effective remedy was available to raise these complaints. A complaint was also made regarding the lawfulness of their detention under Article 5 (1) (2) and (4).
In ruling, the Court noted that the material conditions of detention exceeded the Article 3 threshold and that the detention of children, even for short periods in such unsuitable conditions is contrary to Article 3 ECHR. The Court highlighted the importance of Article 37 Convention on the Rights of the Child and reiterated that the extreme vulnerability of children – whether or not they were accompanied by their parents – was a decisive factor that took precedence over considerations of the child’s status as an irregular immigrant. It also held that complaint procedures available to the applicants were ineffective, amounting to a violation of Article 13 ECHR. The Court therefore held that the detention of all applicants in both the Kumkapı and Gaziantep removal centres was contrary to Article 3 ECHR.
Furthermore, the Court noted that the detention order made reference only to the mother and that the family had been arbitrarily detained during the five days after their release was ordered. As a result, the Court held that the detention of the applicants was contrary to Article 5(1). Moreover, the available mechanisms to challenge the family’s detention did not function effectively in these special circumstances, which required particular diligence to ensure a prompt review of lawfulness. The absence of such diligence amounted to a violation of Article 5(4) ECHR.

Photo: Albuquerque Film Office, April 2005. Flickr (CC)

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly 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 pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.



Albuquerque Film Office

Best interest of the child
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment