On 19 April 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in case A.S. v. France (application no. 46240/16), which concerned a Moroccan national who acquired French nationality in 2002 and who was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in 2013 for involvement in a conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts in France and in other countries. He was deprived of his French nationality and submitted an asylum application claiming to fear being ill-treated if returned to Morocco, which was rejected. On 22 September 2015, the applicant was served with an expulsion order and sent to Morocco, despite an interim measure issued by the ECtHR that same day requesting the French government not to remove the applicant until 25 September. Before the ECtHR, the applicant claimed, inter alia, that his removal violated his rights under Article 3 ECHR due to the risk of being subjected to ill-treatment by the Moroccan authorities and due to the detention conditions there; and that his removal in breach of the Court’s interim measure violated Article 34 ECHR.

The ECtHR found that the nature of the applicant’s conviction in the context of combating terrorism explained why he would be subject to control and supervisory measures on his return to Morocco, without such measures amounting ipso facto to treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR. The Court  also  noted  that  the  applicant  had  not  presented  any  evidence  to  prove  that  the  persons presented  as  his  accomplices  who  had  been  prosecuted  in  Morocco  had  sustained  inhuman  or degrading treatment. It also highlighted that Morocco had taken action to prevent such treatment. Therefore, the ECtHR ruled that there had been no violation of Article 3 ECHR.

With regard to Article 34 ECHR, the Court noted that the French government itself acknowledged that it had not complied with the interim measure. Moreover, the ECtHR found that the applicant had had insufficient time to request the Court to suspend the removal decision, since it had been served on him more than a month after the decision was adopted. Therefore, the Court concluded that the French authorities had failed in their obligations under Article 34 ECHR.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

ELENA Weekly Legal Update, 20 April 2018, available here.

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