The author – M.E., a stateless Palestinian, entered Denmark with his stepmother and two siblings in 1990, when he was seven years old. He was granted asylum in 1993. In 1997, when the applicant was fifteen years old, he returned to Syria for six months and worked as a painter. In Denmark, the applicant married and divorced twice. From each marriage, he had a child.
The author has a criminal record. Among other things, in 1998 he was convicted of assault, for which he was given a suspended sentence of twenty days’ imprisonment. In 1998, he was convicted of making threats against witnesses and possession of a weapon, for which he was given a suspended, sentenced of five months’ imprisonment. In 2002, he was sentenced to thirty days’ imprisonment for theft and human trafficking.
In 2004, the author was arrested, charged with drugs offences and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. In addition, he was expelled from Denmark with a ban on returning.
The High Court did not find that an expulsion order would contravene Article 8 of the ECHR. The Supreme Court upheld the judgment.
The author was deported to Syria in 2010. Upon arrival at Damascus airport, M.E. had allegedly been detained and placed in different prisons, interrogated, notably about his conviction in Denmark, whether he was addicted to drugs and whether there were persons involved in Syria. During this time, the applicant had regularly been subjected to torture.
Before being deported, the author lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. M.E. complained that his deportation had been in violation of Article 3 of the Convention in that he had been tortured upon return by the Syrian authorities, and that the Danish authorities should have been aware of that risk before deporting him.
The ECHR concludes that when the applicant was deported in 2010, there were no substantial grounds to believe that he was at risk of being subjected to treatment in breach of Article 3 upon return to Syria. There has accordingly been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention. The Court also considers that it cannot be said that the Danish courts failed to strike a fair balance between the applicant’s interests on the one hand and the prevention of disorder or crime on the other hand. Accordingly there has been no violation of Article 8 of the Convention.
21. November 2023