The appellant is a former USSR national, living in Latvia. The case is concerned with whether Latvia’s refusal of citizenship to a person who had criticised the Government, constituted a punitive measure in violation of that individual’s rights to freedom of expression under Article 10 and freedom of assembly and association under Article 11. The Court found no violation of articles 10 and 11 as the denial of citizenship did not affect the appellant’s relevant rights. Contrary, it highlighted that there is no “right to a nationality” under the Convention, and no provision of Latvian law indicates the appellant’s right to Latvian citizenship.
The applicant's naturalisation request was denied due to a criminal record, even though he has resided in Luxembourg for decades and is a stateless person. The Court rules that the principle of avoidance of statelessness does not prevent States from setting conditions on access to naturalisation even for stateless persons.
The applicant was born in Yugoslavia on the territory of Croatia, to parents who were born on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The applicant's birth registration erroneously included an entry "Muslim", which was subsequently crossed out and replaced by a reference to his origin from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The applicant argued that he should have been registered as a Croatian national at birth, just like his brother was, and that denial of Croatian nationality status would mean that he became stateless after the dissolution of Yugoslavia.