The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Thursday found Russia violated Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights when it extradited one of its citizens from the Czech Republic.
Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights grants individuals rights, stating that “[e]veryone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in [specific] cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law.”
The Russian citizen who brought the case at the ECHR had been granted permanent residency in the Czech Republic in 2000. Prior to that, he was indicted in Russia for fraud. Following an unsuccessful appeal and asylum dismissal in February 2016, he was detained until his extradition to Russia in November 2017.
Based on this detention, the applicant argued that his right under Article 5(f) of the convention had been violated due to the excessive length of his detention pending extradition and the fact that the courts had not considered alternative measures to extradition. Per Article 5(f), a person’s liberty may be deprived as a result of a “lawful arrest or detention . . . to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.” The applicant also argued that Russia breached domestic law because his detention pending extradition was indefinite and arbitrary.
The courts considered two forms of extradition when judging the length of the detention: (1) extradition requested for the purpose of enforcing a sentence and (2) extradition enabling the requesting State to try the individual. It further highlighted that fixed time limits for detention are not a requirement under Article 5. However, the court decided that domestic law ought to be taken into consideration where it is “sufficiently accessible, precise and foreseeable.” As a result, the court held that the length of detention had breached the six months provided by domestic law and ordered Russia to compensate the applicant.