A.S., a Turkish national, v.Denmark in a violation of Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention

The author A.S. is a Turkish national who had been resident in Denmark for most of his life. After being convicted of aggravated assault committed with other people, which had led to the victim’s death, the applicant was in 2008 placed in the secure unit of a residential institution for the severely mentally impaired for an indefinite period. His expulsion with a permanent re-entry ban was ordered. On the basis of medical reports, Immigration Service opinions and statements by the author, the City Court in 2014 changed A.S.’s sentence to treatment in a psychiatric department. It also held that despite the severity of his crime it would be inappropriate to enforce the expulsion order. In particular, the medical experts stressed the need for continued treatment and follow-up in order to ensure his recovery, while the applicant highlighted that all his family were in Denmark, that he could not speak Turkish, only some Kurdish, and that he was worried about the availability of the necessary treatment in Turkey.
Following an appeal by the prosecution, the High Court overturned the City Court’s judgment in 2015. It cited in its conclusion information on access to medicines in Turkey in the European Commission’s MedCOI medical database and a report from the Foreign Ministry. A.S. would be able to continue his treatment in Turkey. Leave to appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court was refused by the Appeals Permission Board.

In 2015, he was deported to Turkey. He alleges that he leads an isolated life there, with inadequate medical care.
Relying on Articles 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life), A.S. complained that, because of his mental health, his removal to Turkey had violated his rights. He also complained about the refusal to revoke the expulsion order, and the implementation of that order entailing consequently a permanent re-entry ban.
The author’s statement was lodged with the ECHR. The Court delivered its judgment that there had been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention and that there was no need to examine the applicant’s complaint under Article 8 of the Convention. In 2019, the Danish Government requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 (referral to the Grand Chamber).

The Grand Chamber decided that there was no violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It held that it had not been shown that the applicant would suffer a “serious, rapid and irreversible decline in his state of health resulting in intense suffering” as the risk posed by a reduction in treatment applied mainly to others, and that therefore his deportation did not engage the protections of that Article. The Court also found a violation of Article 8: the Danish authorities had failed to examine the applicant’s individual situation adequately, and the effective permanent re-entry ban had been disproportionate.

15. November 2023

HUDOC 57467-15