On the 26th January 2023, the Court delivered its judgment in the case of B.Y. v. Greece, no. 60990/14. The case concerned a Turkish national who alleged that he was forcibly removed from Greece to Türkiye, despite his attempts to claim asylum on the basis of his political opinion. The applicant raised complaints under Article 3 and 5 of the Convention.
The Court firstly considered the claims under the procedural limb of Article 3. It noted that following the applicant’s allegations that the Greek police officers handed him over to the Turkish authorities and subjected him to treatment contrary to Article 3, the authorities were under an obligation to conduct an effective investigation. The Court noted that the number plate of the vehicle involved in the removal was of the Greek police, but no further investigation was carried out and no police officers or officials were questioned in this regard. The Court added that eyewitnesses who were present during the alleged abduction managed to testify only eight months after the event. The Court thereby concluded that the applicant did not benefit from an effective investigation and so there was a violation of Article 3 in its procedural limb.
The Court secondly considered the claims under the substantive limb of Article 3 which concerned the surrender of the applicant to the Turkish authorities and the inhuman and degrading treatment he was subjected to. The Court noted diverging description of the facts by the Parties, and observed that Greek public authorities had not confirmed the applicant’s presence in Greece prior to the alleged abduction. The Court furthermore reasoned that the eyewitnesses could not testify whether the person in the car was in fact the applicant. The Court consequently held that the applicant did not provide concrete or corroborative evidence as to his presence in Greece that would shift the burden of proof to the Government. As a result, the Court found no violation of the substantive limb of Article 3.
Lastly, the Court’s findings relating to the substantive limb of Article 3 were applied to assess the complaint under Article 5. The Court thus held that the Greek authorities did not violate Article 5 of the Convention.
Based on unofficial translation from within the EWLU team.