European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

Court awards €8,500 to convict after UK human rights breach

Judges have accepted that the United Kingdom violated the human rights of a convicted rapist detained in prison beyond the length of his sentence.

In its 9 April judgment in the case of Abdi v. the United Kingdom (application no. 27770/08), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held,

unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court held that the United Kingdom was to pay Mustafa Abdi, who is currently detained in HMP Brixton, 1,500 Euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage. It also awarded 7,000 Euros (EUR) for his lawyers’ costs and expenses.

The case concerned a complaint by Abdi, a Somali national, that he was kept in detention for more than three years, pending his proposed deportation to his country of origin.

The court found in particular that, where lawfulness of detention is in issue, the European Convention refers essentially to national law, laying down the obligation to conform to rules of national law. In Abdi’s case, it held that his detention from 3 December 2004 to mid-April 2007 was not lawful under domestic law because the regular reviews required by the Secretary of State’s published policy on the detention of foreign national prisoners were not carried out.

Indeed, the British Government had accepted the unlawfulness of Abdi’s detention following the Supreme Court’s judgment in another similar case.

It also struck out Abdi’s complaint under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) that his removal to Somalia would put him at risk of illtreatment and therefore decided to lift its indication to the United Kingdom Government (made under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court – interim measures) that Abdi should not be expelled until further notice.

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