European court blocks France's expulsion of a Chechen to Russia

AFP - [email protected]
European court blocks France's expulsion of a Chechen to Russia
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in Strasbourg, eastern France. Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

Europe's top human rights court on Wednesday issued an order blocking the expulsion from France of a man of Chechen origin to Russia, saying he faced risks of serious rights violations.


The ruling comes as France pushes to expel more people who come from Russia's Muslim-majority North Caucasus area, the home region of the jihadist killers of teachers Samuel Paty in 2020 and Dominique Bernard in October this year.

"An imminent risk of irreparable harm could not be ruled out at this stage... in the event of the applicant's removal to Russia," the European Court of Human Rights said in a statement.

Judges said his rights to life and against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment - Articles two and three of the European Convention on Human Rights - could be infringed upon.


They issued what the ECHR calls an "interim measure", an urgent ruling only handed down when it deems there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm to a plaintiff.

In June 2022, the court issued a similar interim measure blocking the UK from removing asylum seekers to Rwanda, throwing the British government's immigration policy into disarray and prompting calls from right-wing lawmakers for Britain to quit the Strasbourg court.

The man concerned by Wednesday's ruling arrived in France in 2007 after his family was persecuted in Chechnya, the ECHR said.

On November 21st he requested a suspension of his planned expulsion.

The court said that his rights appeared in danger "especially given the Russian authorities' request for his extradition".

Wednesday's interim measure means France cannot return the man, who holds refugee status, to Russia before the court examines his case in depth.

"The court decided... that the application would be given priority treatment," it said.

After teacher Bernard was killed in mid-October, France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin vowed "systematic expulsions of all foreigners believed by our intelligence services to be dangerous".

He even vowed to defy ECHR rulings blocking expulsions, saying "protecting the French public is more important than these rules".


The ECHR is a European court that rules on cases relating to infringements of the rights laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights.

France and 45 other countries belonging to the Council of Europe have all ratified the Convention.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also