Deported Jordanian citizen with family ties in Denmark

A.H.A. v. Denmark in a violation of the article 8 of the ECHR. A.H.A. is a Jordanian national who entered Denmark when he was 20 years old and was granted residence after marrying a stateless Palestinian woman with Danish nationality.

They had three children together. After divorcing, A.H.A. married an Iraqi woman of Kurdish origin. They divorced in 2013 after having three children. All six children have Danish nationality. After a first conviction in 2006 for assault and drugs offences, A.H.A.was found guilty in 2009 of trafficking cocaine into Denmark and was jailed. Given the seriousness of the crime, the District Court ordered his expulsion and a permanent ban on his return. The decision was upheld on appeal. In proceedings against the deportation order, he asserted his strong links to his children, wife and ex-wife, stated that they visited him in prison, and that he would lose contact if he were deported. In 2013, the District Court refused to revoke the expulsion order, finding that his crime constituted “a major problem for Danish society”. Under Danish law, expulsion could only be revoked if an applicant’s personal circumstances had changed, and the District Court found that his allegation of a deterioration in his children’s health since the expulsion order was unsubstantiated. The High Court upheld that decision in 2014. It found that his argument that he intended to re-marry his first ex-wife was not a change in circumstance either. He was deported in 2014.
A.H.A. complained to the ECHR that his expulsion from Denmark had separated him from his six children, in breach of his right to respect for private and family life under Article 8.

The EHCR reiterated that States had the right to control the entry and residence of aliens on their territory, including the right to expel an alien convicted of a criminal offence. The EHCR recognized that the Danish courts had carefully balanced the competing interests and had explicitly taken into account the criteria set out in its case law. Looking at the author’s social, cultural and family ties with Denmark and Jordan, the Court noted that in the proceedings leading to the expulsion order, the District Court had found that he spoke only a little Danish, had never had a job in Denmark and that his parents and siblings had remained in Jordan. As for his family situation, the Court decided that the Convention criterion on possible difficulties for spouses in the country of expulsion did not apply to him. When he had stated that he planned to remarry his first ex-wife, he was in prison and facing expulsion. He could not therefore have had a justified expectation of exercising his right to a family life in Denmark with her. He had already divorced with his second ex-wife by the time the District Court had refused to revoke the expulsion order. As concerned the criterion of the best interests of the children, the issue was the difficulties they might encounter in Denmark due to separation from their father, given that the mothers planned to remain in the country. The Danish courts had examined that issue and found that the children’s health had not deteriorated since the 2009 expulsion order. The courts had also found that his maintaining contact with his children since the expulsion order could not change matters either. The Court was not therefore convinced that the best interests of the children had been so adversely affected by his deportation that they should outweigh the other criteria to be taken into account, such as the prevention of disorder or crime. As he had committed a serious drugs crime, the Court found that the expulsion decision had been based on relevant and sufficient reasons. Moreover, the measure had been proportionate in that a fair balance had been struck between his right to respect for his family life, on the one hand, and the prevention of disorder or crime, on the other. Overall, there had been no violation of Article 8.

15. November 2023

HUDOC 25593-14
  • Decision: 23 Januar 2019
  • Comm: HUDOC