On 14 February 2017 the Court handed down a Chamber judgment in the case of S.K. v. Russia, which involved a decision by the Russian authorities to detain a Syrian national and remove him to his home country. In its judgment, the Court held that there would be a violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of ill-treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights if the applicant were to be removed to Syria, because the security and humanitarian situation, as well as the type and extent of hostilities and violence in the country, would expose him to a risk of death or serious harm to his physical integrity. The Court also held that there had been a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3 in respect of the risks to a foreigner’s life and limb arising from enforcement of a penalty of administrative removal. It had not been convincingly shown that the available domestic remedies fully satisfied the requirements of “effectiveness” for this type of case, namely the independent and rigorous scrutiny of the risks, a possibility to prevent removal if such risks were shown to be justified and an “automatic suspensive effect” produced vis-à-vis the impugned penalty during the use of the said domestic remedies. The Court further held that there had been violations of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty) and Article 5 § 4 (right to have lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court) on account of the applicant’s detention with a view to enforcing the penalty of administrative removal. Lastly, under Article 46 (binding force and implementation of judgments) of the Convention, the Court indicated with reference to its findings under Article 5 that it would be appropriate to release the applicant without delay and no later than on the day following notification that the present judgment has become final.
On 2 March 2017 the Court handed down a Chamber judgment in the case of Ahmed v. the United Kingdom concerning a Somali national who complained about his detention after the Secretary of State decided to make a deportation order against him. In 1999 the applicant made a claim for asylum in the UK. This was unsuccessful, but he was granted exceptional leave to remain in the UK until 2004. He was detained in 2008 and served with a notice of a deportation order after several criminal convictions. Removal directions were cancelled on 16 June 2009, after Mr Ahmed made an application to the European Court of Human Rights, which granted an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. On 13 July 2011, two weeks after the Court ruled on the issue of removals to Somalia in the case of Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom, Mr Ahmed was released on bail. In November 2011 the Administrative Court dismissed Mr Ahmed’s judicial review claim, finding that his detention had not been unlawful. Relying on Article 5 § 1 (f) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Ahmed complained that the domestic law governing administrative detention of immigrants prior to expulsion had not been sufficiently precise, accessible and foreseeable for it to meet the standard of lawfulness under the Convention. He also argued that his detention between 8 February 2008 and 13 July 2011 had not been for the purpose of deportation and had been in violation of his right to liberty. Furthermore, Mr Ahmed relied on Article 34 (right of individual petition) to complain that the authorities had hindered his right to apply to the Court, by justifying the decision to keep him detained with the fact that he had obtained a measure under Rule 39 from the Court, and by making repeated offers to him to join a “Facilitated Returns Scheme” which would voluntarily return him to Somalia. The Court held that there had been no violation of Article 5 § 1 f) and no violation of Article 34 in the present case.