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Ill-treatment by state authorities

The AIRE Centre has always been concerned by the incidence of prohibited ill treatment by the State or its agents or the failure of the state to act appropriately to protect vulnerable individuals from ill treatment.  The cases in which we are currently involved and have been involved show the wide range of circumstances in which such violations can occur.

Berlinski v Poland (27715/95), (30209/96):  The AIRE Centre was assisted by James Eadie QC in this case.  The two Applicants alleged that their Article 3 rights were breached, because they had been ill-treated by policemen during their arrest and transportation and because investigations against the policemen were discontinued due to a lack of evidence. The Court did not find a breach of Article 3, because the use of force was necessary and because the investigation was thorough and effective. Article 6(1) and 6(3)(c) were breached, because the Applicants had no defence counsel for more than a year and because the authorities ignored the Applicants’ request for an official lawyer.

The Chagos Islanders v the United Kingdom: (35622/04): In 2004 The AIRE Centre drafted the statement of  alleged violations of the original application to the European Court in collaboration with the Chagos Islanders’ solicitor Richard Gifford and have continued to work as part of an extended legal team, based at Clifford Chance, drafting observations on the Government Observations. This high-profile case, involving several violations of international law, encounters the expulsion in degrading circumstances of the residents of the British Indian Ocean Territory from their homeland to facilitate the construction and operation of the US military base on Diego Garcia.  Despite the expulsion having been ruled ultra vires by the UK courts, the Chagossians have still not been compensated or permitted to return. The case was communicated in 2009.

Kadzoev v Bulgaria (56437/07): The AIRE Centre, together with Valeria Ilareva of the Legal Clinic for Refugees and Immigrants in Bulgaria, represent the Applicant, who was held in solitary confinement whilst his claim for asylum was processed.  He risks prohibited ill-treatment if returned to Russia.  The AIRE Centre is acting for the Applicant in Strasbourg.  During 2009, the legality of his ongoing detention was referred  by the Bulgarian courts to the European Court of Justice of the EU.  It was the first case which ruled on the EU Returns Directive. It also  appears to be the first asylum case to be considered both by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.  This case was communicated to the Bulgarian Government but is still pending.

X,  Y  & Z v UK (32666/10): The AIRE Centre is assisting Leigh Day solicitors and Lizanne Gumbel QCof 1 Crown Office Row and her colleagues in an application concerning the failure of the authorities to take the necessary steps to protect two vulnerable adults with learning disabilities. The Applicants suffered serious physical and mental abuse, abuse including sexual abuse, at the hands of a group of youths who lived on their housing estate. The authorites were made repeatedly  aware of the threat the youths were posing to these vulnerable adults. The English courts held that no action in negligence could lie against the authorities. The case is pending.

 (See also Accountability of State Authorities)

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