M.A. and Others v. Lithuania

Application № 59793/17
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The Сourt found violations of the applicants’ rights and awarded them compensation
flag Lithuania / flag Belarus / flag Russia / European Court of Human Rights
Case type: expulsion / deportation

The applicants in the case are husband (“M.A.”), his wife and their underage children. All of them are Russian nationals of Chechen origin.

The case concerns repeated refusals to accept the application for asylum at the Lithuanian border and the applicants’ subsequent 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 went to Brest, Belarus. From Brest the complainants repeatedly tried to enter Poland and apply for asylum there. These attempts were unsuccessful: Polish border guards ignored their applications for asylum and returned the applicants to Belarus. These facts were considered in a separate application by the European Court of Human Rights, which also found violations of the applicants’ rights (see M.A. and Others v. Poland). Our lawyer represented the family in that case as well.

In April-May 2017, the applicants tried to enter Lithuania three times. Each time they made it clear to the Lithuanian border guards orally or in writing that they wished to apply for asylum. Despite this, the applicants' applications were not accepted and they were denied entry. Thereafter they were expelled to Belarus.

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On 11 December 2018, the Court delivered its judgement on the complaint in favor of the applicants. The Court found that the Lithuanian authorities had violated articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The violation of article 3 occurred, because Lithuanian border guards had not accepted the applicants’ application for asylum on three occasions. The authorities therefore did not assess the safety of the family's return to Belarus, which expels forced migrants from Chechnya to Russia without any guarantees. The Court found a violation of article 13 of the Convention, taken in conjunction with article 3, as the applicants were unable to effectively appeal against the refusals of entry to Lithuania.

The applicants were awarded 22,000 euros in compensation.

Link: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-188267

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