Iskandarov v. Russia

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction | Reparations | Burden of Proof | Deprivation of Liberty | Evidence | Refugees and Migrants | State/Non-State Agents

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Prevention | Related Crimes

The Court reaffirmed that when factual elements lie within the exclusive knowledge of the authorities, the burden of proof is shifted to the State to provide explanations. The Court was thus satisfied that the victim was arrested by Russian State agents and that he remained under their control until his transfer to the Tajik authorities. It found that his removal to Tajikistan was in breach of Russia's obligation to protect him against risks of ill-treatment. The Court also argued that the victim's transfer could not be considered as a mere restriction of his freedom of movement as it was imposed by State agents, finding that the victim's situation while under the control of State agents following his abduction amounted to a deprivation of liberty. It concluded that the victim's detention amounted to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty constituting a most grave violation of the right to liberty and security, as it was not based on a decision issued pursuant to national laws and was not acknowledged in any arrest or detention records.

Judgment Date

February 21, 2011

Country

Russia

Judicial Body

European Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 3 [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR]

Facts of the Case

In November 2004 Mr. Mukhamadruzi Iskandarov, a Tajiki national who lived in Russia, was charged in his absence with terrorism, gangsterism and other offences, and placed in custody as a preventive measure. His extradition was requested, and he was arrested in Russia in December 2004 and placed in remand prison. Mr. Iskandarov asked not to be extradited, arguing that the request had been filed for political reasons, and applied for political asylum. In April 2005, the extradition request was dismissed and Mr. Iskandarov was released. A few days later, he was abducted in the street by two persons wearing uniforms of the Russian State Inspectorate for Road Safety who, assisted by several men in civilian clothes and without identifying themselves or giving any explanations, handcuffed him, beat him and drove him away. Mr. Iskandarov was escorted to a sauna where he was detained without access to a lawyer and mistreated. He was later taken to a forest, where a group of people possibly belonging to Russian law enforcement agencies put a mask on his face and escorted him to an airport. The aircraft landed in Tajikistan, where Mr. Iskandarov was handed over to the local law enforcement agency who placed him in a remand prison. For the first ten days of his detention Mr. Iskandarov was registered under a false name and regularly beaten and mistreated. He was later told by officers of the Tajik Prosecutor General's Office that he would be killed unless he confessed. Mr. Iskandarov made a self-incriminating statement under pressure. On 30 April 2005 he was allowed to see his lawyers for the first time since his arrest. In October, he was convicted and sentenced to 23 years' imprisonment. Mr. Iskandarov's relatives filed a number of requests for clarification of his abduction and complaints for his detention.

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