ECHR judgment of October 1, 2019 in the case of Savran v. Denmark (application No. 57467/15).
In 2015, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated by Denmark.
The case has successfully examined the application about the applicant’s unlawful expulsion to Turkey without the Danish authorities receiving individual and sufficient guarantees. The case has violated the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Circumstances of the case
The applicant, a Turkish national with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, entered Denmark in 1991 when he was six years old. In 2007, he was charged with aggravated assault, which led to the death of the victim. The applicant was sentenced to indefinite placement in a closed unit of a local medical institution for persons with serious mental disorders, and an expulsion order was issued against him. In 2014, the city court ruled that, regardless of the nature and gravity of the crime, the applicant's state of health clearly did not allow the execution of the expulsion order to be executed. In 2015, this decision was quashed by the Danish Supreme Court, and the applicant was subsequently refused permission to file a complaint.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
Regarding compliance with article 3 of the Convention. The Danish Supreme Court concluded that the applicant would be provided with the necessary medical treatment if he returned to Turkey. The Danish Supreme Court noted that psychiatric treatment will be available to the applicant in public hospitals and private treatment centers, which have concluded an agreement with the Turkish Ministry of Health. According to information received by the Danish Supreme Court, the applicant will be eligible for free or subsidized treatment, and Kurdish-speaking medical personnel will assist him.
The Danish Supreme Court found the following: the fact that the applicant knew about his illness and the importance of medical treatment, as well as about taking the prescribed medications, did not make the applicant’s expulsion necessarily unreasonable. However, the Danish Supreme Court noted that, according to the applicant’s attending physician, the applicant’s awareness of his illness was not enough to avoid a relapse, it was also important that the applicant was kept under regular review. Based on the findings presented by the two counseling psychiatrists during the trial, who insisted on regular examinations and monitoring in connection with intensive outpatient treatment, it should be noted that the Danish Supreme Court, unlike the city court, did not express its opinion on this matter.
The issue of maintaining social and family ties was also one of the important elements that should be taken into account when assessing whether a person in practice had access to the necessary treatment. The applicant insisted that he had no family or social ties in Turkey. Although admitting that there was no medical evidence indicating the importance of family relationships as an integral part of the applicant's treatment, the Court could not ignore the fact that the applicant suffered from a severe long-term mental illness, paranoid schizophrenia, and was constantly in need of medical and psychiatric treatment. The applicant’s return to Turkey, where he had no family or other social connections, would inevitably entail additional difficulties for him and would make the necessary constant examinations and monitoring more necessary due to intensive outpatient therapy. In this regard, the Court reiterated, inter alia, that, according to the psychiatrists, the applicant was ordered to undergo a complex course of treatment, which should be carefully observed. Neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs should be taken daily, and this fact (regularity of intake), apparently, contained the risk of non-compliance with drug therapy, which subsequently could lead to a deterioration in the psychotic state of the applicant and, accordingly, to an increased risk of his aggressive behavior.
Thus, regular check-ups and a control regimen were important for the outpatient psychiatric treatment of the applicant and for preventing the deterioration of his immune system, a potential side effect of taking the prescribed medications. For this, the applicant at least needed help in the form of constant and regular personal contact with a person. The Danish authorities had to ensure that if the applicant returned to Turkey, this assistance would be available to him.
Consequently, although the level of severity for the application of Article 3 of the Convention is high in cases involving the expulsion of foreigners suffering from a serious illness, the Court shares the concerns expressed by the city court that it was unclear whether the applicant had a real opportunity to return to Turkey if he returned to Turkey. psychiatric treatment, including the necessary regular examinations and monitoring in connection with conducting intensive care on an outpatient basis. This uncertainty raised serious doubts about the consequences of the expulsion for the applicant. If such doubts persist, the returning state should either dispel these doubts, or receive individual and sufficient guarantees from the receiving state as a prerequisite for transferring the person that the appropriate treatment will be available and will be available to the transferred person so that he does not appear in a situation that violates Article 3 of the Convention.
The expulsion of the applicant to Turkey without the Danish authorities receiving individual and sufficient guarantees would constitute a violation of Article 3 of the Convention (adopted by four votes in favor with one against).