September 23, 2009
Press Release from Iranian Refugees' Alliance, Inc.
Iranian Refugees' Alliance, Inc. (IRA-INC) welcomes yesterday's unanimous judgment by the European Court of Human Rights which found Turkey in violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), and Articles 5 §§ 1, 2, and 4 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights and awarded damages to the applicants in the case it lodged on 30 June 2008 on behalf of Iranian nationals Messrs. M. Abdolkhani and H. Karimnia.
Both applicants, former members of the People's
Mojahedin Organization of Iran, had been recognized as refugees by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) while they were in a temporary
refugee camp in
Based on evidence submitted by the applicants and the UNHCR, which was granted leave to intervene in the proceedings as a third party, the Court held that there was a real risk of the applicants being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if they were returned to either country. These include evidence concerning torture, execution and deaths in custody of PMOI members in Iran, the unknown fate of those who have returned voluntarily, UNHCR's verification of applicants' fears, as well as the fact that removals to Iraq take place in the absence of a proper legal procedure and that those who have been removed to Iraq have possibly been subsequently removed to Iran. The Court reaffirmed the absolute nature of Article 3, noted that applicants had left the PMOI and had been recognized as refugees by UNHCR, and completely rejected the Turkish Government's excuse that the continued presence of the applicants presented a "security risk".
The Court also remarked upon the administrative
and judicial authorities' total disregard for the applicants' genuine fears of
ill-treatment and death if returned to
The Court also concluded that the applicants' detention is unlawful since there were no clear legal provisions for detention of foreigners subject to deportation, as is required by Article 5 § 1 of the Convention.. The Turkish government was also found to have violated Articles 5 §§ 2 and 4 of the Convention in failing to tell the applicants why they have been detained and failing to provide them with any remedy whereby they could challenge the lawfulness of their detention speedily by judicial review.
The Court awarded the applicants EUR 20,000 each in non-pecuniary damages and EUR 3,500 in cost and expenses under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention.
"This decision represents an important
victory for refugee rights in
UNHCR figures show that after the
The Court's press release and judgment are accessible on its Internet site: www.echr.coe.int.
For further information regarding this case please contact the Iranian Refugees' Alliance, Inc. at the address below.
Refugees' Alliance, Inc., is a non-profit NGO in the
Iranian Refugees' Alliance, Inc.