ECtHR - L.M. and others v. Russia

The applicants, a stateless Palestinian from Syria and two Syrian nationals, entered Russia in 2013 and were kept in a detention centre before their expulsion to Syria. The Court held that the Government’s actions breached the applicant’s rights provided under Articles 2 and 3. The Court also stated that Articles 5(4) and 5(1)(f) had been violated with regards to their detention. The Court also held that the restricted contact with their respective representatives had breached Article 34 of the Convention. 

Case name (in original language)
L.M. and others v. Russia Applications Nos. 40081/14, 40088/14 and 40127/14
Case status
Case number
40081/14, 40088/14 and 40127/14
European Court of Human Rights, L.M. and others v. Russia (Applications Nos. 40081/14, 40088/14 and 40127/ 15 October 201514)
Date of decision
Court / UN Treaty Body
European Court of Human Rights
Language(s) the decision is available in
Applicant's country of birth
Applicant's country of residence
Russian Federation
Relevant Legislative Provisions

Articles 2, 3, 5.1, 5.4 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) ("the Convention")

Section 34(5) of the Foreigners Act (Law no. 115-FZ of 25 July 2002), Article 3.10 of the Code of Administrative Offences, Refugees Act of Russia (Law no. 4258-I of 19 February 1993)

Russia - Foreigners Act (Law no.115-FZ of 25 July 2002) - Section 34(5)

Russia - Code of Administrative Offences - Articles 3.9

Russia - Code of Administrative Offences - 3.10(1)(2)(5)

Russia - Code of Administrative Offences - 27.1(1)

Russia - Code of Administrative Offences - 27.19(2)

Russia - Code of Administrative Offences - 31.9(1)

Russia - Constitution - Article 22

Russia - Refugees Act of Russia (Law no. 4258-I of 19 February 1993)

Russia - Decree No. 1306 of the Russian Government


The applicants, a stateless Palestinian from Syria who entered Russia in February 2013 and two Syrian nationals, entered Russia on 21 April 2013. The applicants were arrested by the Federal Migration Service (FMS) in April 2014 and were held at a foreign national detention centre. 

The applicants were found guilty of administrative offences by the Maloyaroslavets District Court in May 2014. Those included a breach of immigration rules and working without a permit. The applicants stated in their defence that they feared for their lives in case they were returned to Syria, due to the country’s ongoing conflict. Nonetheless, the Court ordered their expulsion to Syria and the additional payment of fines.  

The Kaluga Regional Court rejected the applicants’ appeal to the expulsion order. Later on, in May 2014, they applied for refugee status and requested temporary asylum in Russia. FMS questioned them in June 2014 regarding the reasons why they were seeking asylum. The applicants claimed that they had fled the Syrian conflict and highlighted the life-endangering circumstances, in case of their return. 

In July, two of the applicants withdrew their temporary asylum applications and refugee status. The FMS rejected the third applicant’s request on the basis that he did not face a real threat of persecution. The same applicant escaped in August 2014 from the detention centre where he was held, according to the relevant Russian authorities. The two applicants who had previously withdrawn their applications, re-submitted new ones requesting refugee status. Once again, they withdrew their applications. 

In May 2014, the three applicants applied with the ECtHR alleging that their deportation to Syria would be in breach of their rights under Articles 2 and 3 ECHR. Additionally, they claimed that they had no effective domestic remedies available contrary to Article 13 ECHR and that their detention in Russia was in breach of their rights under Articles 3 and 5 ECHR. They also complained under Article 34 ECHR that the restrictions on communicating with their representatives and using interpreting services had hindered their effective access to the Court.

Decision & Reasoning

The Court ruled that the complaints under Articles 2 and 3 concerning the applicants’ expulsion, and under Articles 5 and 13 admissible, and the remainder of the applications inadmissible. It also decided that the forced return of the applicants to Syria would give rise to a violation of Articles 2 and/or 3 of the Convention. In its reasoning, the Court noted that one of the applicants is a stateless Palestinian and according to UNHCR, “nearly all the areas hosting large numbers of Palestinian refugees are directly affected by the conflict”. This group was regarded by the UNHCR as being in need of international protection.

It was not necessary to examine the complaint under Article 13, in conjunction with Articles 2 and/or 3 of the Convention. The court also ruled that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4 and 5 § 1 (f) of the Convention. It was decided that Russia had failed to comply with its obligations under Article 34 of the Convention and therefore had to ensure the immediate release of the applicants.

The Court also decided that that the Russian government has to pay the sums of EUR 9,000 and EUR 8,600 to each applicant.  


The Court held that there was a breach of Articles 2 and 3 and Articles 5(4) and 5(1)(f), as well as Article 34 of the Convention.

The Court rejected the applicants’ complaint under Article 3 of the Convention, concerning the conditions of their detention.

The Court held that Russia was to ensure immediate release the applicants and awarded EUR 9,000 to each of the applicants in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 8,600 jointly to the applicants in respect of costs and expenses.

Caselaw cited

Kudeshkina v. Russia (no. 2), Application no. 28727/1, Akdivar v Turkey, Application No. 21893/93, Scozzari and Giunta v. Italy [GC], (Application nos. 39221/98 and 41963/98), Mente and others v. Turkey, no. 23186/94, Lebedev v. Russia, (no. 4493/04)

Gayratbek Saliyev v. Russia, (no. 39093/13), H.L.R. v. France, Application no. 24573/94, Gebremedhin (Gaberamadhien) v France, Application No. 25389/05, Saadi v. Royaume-Uni [GC], Application No. 13229/03, Maestri v. Italy [GC], Application No. 39748/98, K.A.B. v. Sweden, Application No. 886/11 [27], Kozhayev v. Russia, Application No. 60045/10, Broniowski v. Poland [GC], Application No. 31443/96, Shtukaturov v. Russia, (no. 44009/05), Paladi v. Moldova [GC], Application No. 39806/05, Y. v. Russia, Application No. 20113/07, M.A. v Cyprus, Application No. 41872/10, Khaydarov v. Russia, Application No. 21055/09, Gaforov v. Russia, Application No. 25404/09, Kaboulov v. Ukraine, Application No. 41015/04, Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom, Application Nos. 8319/07 and 11449/07, Scoppola v. Italy (no. 2) [GC], Application No. 10249/03, Hirsi Jamaa and Others v Italy [GC], Application No. 27765/09, NA v UK, Application No. 25904/07, A. and Others v. the United Kingdom [GC], Application No. 3455/05, Brumsrescu v. Romania, no. 28342/95, Labsi v. Slovakia, Application no. 33809/08, Amirov v. Russia, Application no. 51857/13, 27 November 2014, Egamberdiyev v. Russia, Application no. 34742/13, Cotlets v. Romania, Application no. 38565/97, Knyazev v. Russia, Application no. 25948/05, Zakharkin v. Russia, Application no. 1555/04, , Melnikov v. Russia, Application no. 23610/03, Rustamov v. Russia, Application no. 11209/10, Akram Karimov v. Russia, Application no. 62892/12, Khodzhayev v. Russia, Application no. 52466/08,

Jelisis v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Application no. 41183/02, Croke v. Ireland, Application no. 33267/96, Rakhimov v. Russia, Application no. 50552/13, Khalikov v. Russia, Application no. 66373/13, Shakurov v. Russia, Application no. 55822/10, Assanidze v. Georgia [GC], Application no. 71503/0, Ewalaka-Koumou v. Russia, Application no. 20953/03, 4 February 2010, Kim v. Russia, Application no. 44260/13, Kasymakhunov v. Russia, Application no. 29604/12, Öcalan v. Turkey [GC] (no. 46221/99, ECHR 12 May 2005), Del Rio Prada v Spain (no. 42750/09), Mamatkulov and Askarov v. Turkey [GC], nos. 46827/99 and 46951/99, ECHR 2005, Volkov v. Ukraine (Application no. 217722/11, Azimov v. Russia, no. 67474/11, Tukhtamurodov v. Russia (no. 21762/14), Mamazhonov v. Russia (no. 17239/13), 23 October 2014, Abdolkhani and Karimnia v. Turkey, (no. 30471/08), 22 September 2009, AM & AM (Somalia) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, CG [2008] UKAIT 00091

Third party interventions


Federal Bailiff Service