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France: Convicted terrorist stripped of nationality seeks court backing in human rights complaint

A Moroccan-born terrorist, stripped of French nationality after being convicted of joining a conspiracy, wants European court confirmation that his human rights have been violated.

Strasbourg judges’ decision in the complaint  A.S. v. France (no. 46240/15) is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday 19 April.

The applicant is a Moroccan national, A.S., who was born in 1970.

The case concerns the expulsion to Morocco of a Moroccan national convicted in France of conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks and deprived of his French nationality on the same grounds.

A.S. arrived in France in 1991 and acquired French nationality in 2002. In 2013 he was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for involvement, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and up to 30 April 2010, in a conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts in Paris, elsewhere in France, in Morocco, in Iran and in Afghanistan.

In May 2014, he was deprived of his nationality. During his prison term A.S. submitted an asylum application on the grounds that he feared ill-treatment if he returned to Morocco. His application was rejected on 25 August 2015.

An expulsion order had already been issued against him on 14 August 2015. On 21 September Morocco was established as the country of destination of the expulsion. The next day, on the date of his release, the applicant was served with the expulsion order. His lawyer lodged a request for an interim measure with the court.

At 12.05 p.m. on 22 September the Court indicated to the French Government that it should refrain from expelling the applicant until 25 September but A.S. was expelled to Casablanca at 12.35 p.m. on 22 September.

On arrival in Casablanca, A.S. was arrested and remanded in custody, and then placed in preventive detention on 2 October 2015. On 21 December 2016 the National Court on the Right of Asylum dismissed his appeal against the decision rejecting his asylum application.

On 10 March 2016, he was sentenced by a Moroccan court to five years’ immediate imprisonment, but was released on 21 December 2015 by the Court of Appeal, on the grounds that he had already served his whole sentence in France for the same acts in respect of which he had been tried in Morocco.

The applicant alleges that he was expelled to Morocco despite the risk of his suffering ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment).

He also complains under Article 3 of his conditions of detention in the Moroccan prisons, and submits that by expelling him to Morocco in breach of the interim measure indicated by the Court, France failed in its obligations under Article 34 (right of individual application).

He also relies on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 1 of Protocol No. 7 (procedural safeguards relating to expulsion of aliens) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).

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