M.A. and Others v. Latvia
The applicants in the case are husband (“M.A.”), his wife and their children. All of them are Russian nationals of Chechen origin.
The case concerns the refusal to receive an application for asylum at the Latvian border and the applicants’ immediate expulsion to Belarus.
Circumstances of the case
In 2017, M.A. was tortured by the Chechen police. The applicants therefore decided to seek asylum in the European Union.
The family first travelled to Brest, Belarus. From Brest the applicants repeatedly tried to enter Poland and Lithuania and apply for asylum there. These attempts were unsuccessful: both Polish and Lithuanian border guards ignored their applications for asylum and returned the applicants to Belarus. These facts were considered in separate applications by the European Court of Human Rights, which found numerous violations of the applicants’ rights (see M.A. and Others v. Lithuania and M.A. and Others v. Poland). Our lawyer represented the family in these cases as well.
In November 2017, the applicants tried to enter Latvia. At the “Indra” border checkpoint M.A. and his wife asked Latvian border guards for asylum both in writing and orally. The border guards ignored their application, refused the family entry into Latvia and expelled the applicants to Belarus.
In December 2017, the family returned to Russia, where M.A. was apprehended and detained in Chechnya. There he was tortured again. After some time he was released. The wife and the children were able to enter Poland and apply for asylum in January 2018, and the husband – in March 2018.
Complaint to the European Court of Human Rights
In the complaint it was argued that the Latvian authorities had violated article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, article 4 of Protocol No 4 to the Convention, and article 13 of the Convention , taken in conjunction with article 3 of the Convention and article 4 of Protocol No 4 to the Convention.