ECtHR, XX v. the United Kingdom, No. 8139/09, 2012
- United Kingdom
TopicsMembership in a terrorist organisation
Legal basesEuropean Convention on Human Rights
CourtsEuropean Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
LawsTorture, degrading and inhuman and treatment
The applicant, XX, is a Jordanian national, currently detained in Long Lartin prison, Worcestershire, England, on. suspected links with al-Qaeda. Mr XX arrived in the United Kingdom in September 1993 and made a successful application for asylum, on the basis that he had been detained and tortured by the Jordanian authorities in 1988 and 1990. In October 2002, he was detained under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act. When that Act was repealed in March 2005, he was released on bail and made subject to a control order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. While his appeal against the control order was still pending, in August 2005 he was served with a notice of intention to deport him to Jordan. Mr XX claimed that, if deported, he would be retried, which would put him at risk of torture, lengthy pre-trial detention and a grossly unfair trial based on evidence obtained by the torture of his co-defendants. The UK Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) dismissed his appeal against deportation, holding that Mr XX would be protected against torture and ill-treatment by the agreement negotiated between the UK and Jordan. The Court of Appeal partially granted Mr XX’s appeal. It found that there was a risk that torture evidence would be used against him if he were returned to Jordan and that that would violate the international prohibition on torture and would result in a flagrant denial of justice in breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. On 18 February 2009 the House of Lords upheld SIAC’s findings. They found that the diplomatic assurances would protect Mr. XX from being tortured. The applicant alleged, in particular, that he would be at real risk of ill-treatment and a flagrant denial of justice if deported to Jordan. He relied on Articles 3, 5, 6 and 13.
Articles 3, 5, 6 and 13 of the ECHR
Article 3 The Court had to decide whether the diplomatic assurances obtained by the UK Government from the Jordanian Government were sufficient to protect Mr. XX. It found that the agreement between the two Governments was specific and comprehensive. The assurances were given in good faith by a Government whose bilateral relations with the United Kingdom had, historically, been strong. In addition, the assurances would be monitored by an independent human rights organisation in Jordan, which would have full access to Mr. XX in prison. There would therefore be no risk of ill-treatment, and no violation of Article 3, if Mr Othman were deported to Jordan. Article 13 The Court considered that SIAC’s procedures satisfied the requirements of Article 13. There had therefore been no violation of Article 13. Article 5 The Court noted that Jordan clearly intended to bring Mr. XX to trial and had to do so within 50 days of his detention. The Court held that 50 days’ detention fell far short of the length of detention required for a flagrant breach of Article 5 and, consequently, that there would be no violation of Article 5 if he were deported to Jordan. Article 6 The European Court agreed with the English Court of Appeal that the use of evidence obtained by torture during a criminal trial would amount to a flagrant denial of justice. Torture and the use of torture evidence were banned under international law. The Court found that torture was widespread in Jordan, as was the use of torture evidence by the Jordanian courts. In the absence of any assurance by Jordan that the torture evidence would not be used against Mr. XX, the Court therefore concluded that his deportation to Jordan to be retried would give rise to a flagrant denial of justice in violation of Article 6.