Mamatkulov and Askarov v Turkey: ECHR 4 Feb 2005

(Grand Chamber) The applicants had resisted extradition to Uzbekistan from Turkey to stand trial on very serious charges, saying that if returned they would be tortured. There was material to show that that was not a fanciful fear. On application made by them to the European Court of Human Rights, it indicated to Turkey under rule 39 of its procedural rules that the extradition should not take place until it had had an opportunity to examine the validity of the applicants’ fears. But in breach of this measure, and in violation of article 34 of the Convention, Turkey surrendered the applicants. The Chamber found, in effect, that no findings of fact could be made since the applicants had been denied an opportunity to have inquiries made to obtain evidence in support of their allegations: ‘It would hardly be compatible with the ‘common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law’ to which the Preamble refers, were a Contracting State knowingly to surrender a person to another State where there were substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
In determining whether substantial grounds have been shown for believing that a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 exists, the Court will assess the issue in the light of all the material placed before it or, if necessary, material obtained proprio motu…’
The Grand Chamber concluded that Turkey had not violated article 3 of the Convention in surrendering the applicants. It did so in reliance on assurances received by Turkey from the Uzbek Government and the Uzbek Public Prosecutor before and after the surrender, and medical reports by doctors at the Uzbek prison where the applicants were being held.
ECHR Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) – No violation of Art. 3; Not necessary to examine Art. 2; Art. 6 not applicable to the exradition proceedings; No violation of Art. 6-1; Failure to comply with obligations under Art. 34; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses award – Convention proceedings.

Judges Bratza, Bonello and Hedigan
46827/99, Times 08-Mar-2005, 46951/99, [2005] ECHR 64, (2005) 41 EHRR 25
Worldlii
European Convention on Human Rights 34
Human Rights
Citing:
See AlsoMamatkulov And Askarov v Turkey ECHR 4-Feb-2005
Grand Chamber – while there may have been reasons for doubting whether the applicants would receive a fair trial, there was not sufficient information to show that any possible irregularities in the trial were liable to constitute a flagrant denial . .

Cited by:
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CitedEM (Lebanon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 22-Oct-2008
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CitedEquality and Human Rights Commission v Prime Minister and Others Admn 3-Oct-2011
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Extradition

Updated: 27 December 2021; Ref: scu.223479