Shiksaitov: ECtHR rules against Slovakia in case of an extradition detention of a refugee

Thursday, December 10, 2020

On 10 December 2020, the ECtHR published its judgment Shiksaitov v. Russia. 
The applicant, Mr. Shiksaitov, is a Russian national against whom Russia issued an international arrest warrant based on his criminal prosecution for acts of terrorism for which, if convicted, he faces a life sentence. In 2011, Shiksaitov obtained refugee status in Sweden. In 2015, he was arrested by the Slovak border police and, subsequently, a Slovak Regional Court ordered his preliminary detention to determine the circumstances surrounding his status in Sweden. That decision was upheld by both an appeal court and the Constitutional Court. One month later, he was placed in detention, pending extradition to Russia. He unsuccessfully appealed against the extradition decision before a Regional Court.  However, this decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. Shiksaitov was released and expelled to Sweden. 
Concerning the violation of Article 5(1)(f) ECHR, the ECtHR noted that according to Slovak national law, the decision of the Swedish authorities to grant him asylum did not automatically exclude the possibility of extradition by the Slovak authorities. Furthermore, referring to Article 1F of the Refugee Convention, the Court found that, given that the Swedish authorities did not know that his name appeared on the Interpol list and had not checked the nature of the criminal charge brought against him in Russia, a review of his status may have been warranted. Therefore, the Court held that the Slovak authorities could not be blamed for having carried out a preliminary investigation to determine whether there were any legal or factual impediments to extradition and for having examined the extradition request, despite Shiksaitov’s previously granted refugee status in Sweden. 
However, the Court also emphasised that detention ‘with a view to extradition’ can only be justified as long as the extradition is in progress and there is a true prospect of implementation of the extradition. In this respect, the Court pointed out that the applicant had almost immediately informed the Slovak authorities of his refugee status in Sweden, which was subsequently confirmed by Swedish Interpol and the Swedish authorities. Furthermore, while neither the available information nor the situation in itself changed, two Chambers of the Supreme Court in Slovakia reached the opposite conclusion regarding the applicability of the exclusion provision of Article 12(2)(b) of the Qualification Directive (Directive 2011/95). Therefore, given that the grounds for the applicant’s detention did not remain valid for the whole period of his detention (one year, nine months and eighteen days), and because the authorities had failed to conduct the proceedings with due diligence, the Court concluded that Slovakia had violated Article 5(1) ECHR.
Finally, the Court found that the applicant had not had an enforceable right to compensation for the breach of Article 5(1), and, accordingly, concluded that there had been a violation of Article 5(5) ECHR.

Photo: Latvian Foreign Ministry, October 2014, 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 published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                               

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