ECtHR- H.S. and Others v. Cyprus

Fourteen Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin and two stateless Kurds had their asylum applications rejected in Cyprus, on grounds of the accounts being either unsubstantiated, lacking credibility or, on the respective facts, being insufficient to establish a real risk of persecution. The applicants were arrested, detained, deported, and subjected to imprisonment for protesting the Government’s restrictive asylum policies. The grounds for deportation related to illegal entry and illegal stay. The applicants claimed that they had not received these orders but were informed orally of their deportation.

Case status
Case number
Application no. 41753/10 and 13 other applications
European Court of Human Rights, Mainov v. Russia [2018] (Application no. 11556/17), 21 October 2015
Date of decision
Court / UN Treaty Body
European Court of Human Rights
Language(s) the decision is available in
Applicant's country of birth
Applicant's country of residence
Relevant Legislative Provisions

European Convention on Human Rights, Article 4, 5, and 13.

EU Returns Directive, Directive 2008/115/EC of 16 December 2008.

Recast Asylum Procedures Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council


The case is concerned with fourteen asylum applications filed by Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin and two stateless Kurds belonging to the Ajanib Minority Group, respectively M.S. and A.M. M.S, filed his asylum claim on grounds of political involvement of the Yetiti party in Syria and the Qamishli events. His application was closed, and never examined by the Asylum Service, as he did not attend his scheduled interview, because he had failed to inform the authorities about a change of address and correct phone number. His appeal was denied by the Reviewing Authorities as it had been made on the wrong grounds. A.M, who filed his asylum application on grounds of denial of access to education, work, and property based of his ethnic origin, had the substance of his claim examined by both the Asylum Service and the Reviewing Authority but had his asylum claim rejected.

In 2010, the applicants, together with a bigger group of Kurds from Syria, protested the restrictive asylum policies before the Cypriot Government. Consequently, the Cypriot authorities removed all protesters, detained them, and subsequently arrested and served them with deportation orders. The grounds of deportation related to illegal entry and stay. The applicants claimed that they had not received these orders but were orally informed of their deportation. Following the lift of the deportation orders, which was granted following a Rule 39 request, the applicants were deported to Syria and M.S. was sentenced to two months and A.M. was sentenced to six months imprisonment.  In both cases the applicants complained of a violation of Article 3, Article 13 read in conjunction with Article 3, as well as Article 5 para 1, 2, 4, and Article 4 of Protocol No. 4. 

Decision & Reasoning

Article 3 and Article 13 in conjugation with Article 3

The Court held that at the time there was no indication that the general situation in Syria for Kurds was so serious that the return of the applicants thereto would constitute, in itself, a violation of Article 3. It also underlined that applying for asylum abroad would lead to prosecution or other forms of persecution in Syria if returned. In terms of Article 13 in conjugation with Article 3, the Court split the M.S. and A.M into two groups, arguing that the first group, to which M.S. belonged, did not exhaust all domestic remedies. Noting that the asylum procedures in Cyprus allow for an appeal to the Reviewing Authority, the Court pointed out that the applicants had either not attended scheduled interviews or had not filed an appeal against the rejected asylum decision. The second group, to which A.M belonged, the Court argued related to the alleged violation of Article 3 in the event of expulsion, that there was no need to examine the exhaustion of domestic remedies as the threshold of Article 3 had not been met. Consequently, applicants had failed to establish that there were substantial grounds for believing that they would be exposed to a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3, and therefore the claims under Article 3 and 13 were ill-founded.

Article 5 para 4

The Court found that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 4, as the deportation did not comply with the requirement of “speediness”.

Article 5 para 1

The Court was satisfied that the deprivation of liberty of the five applicants during the relevant period fell within the ambit of Article 5 § 1 (f) of the Convention as they were detained for the purpose of being deported from Cyprus. The Court found that M.S. and A.M. had been subject to detention for an unjustified prolonged period in which the authorities had not demonstrated the requisite due diligence to end the detention as reasonably as possible.

Article 5 para 2 and 4 and Article 4 Protocol 4

With regards to Article 5 para 2 and Article 4 Protocol 4 the Court, as in MA v Cyprus, declined to accede to the applicants’ arguments, rejecting that a violation had occurred on these grounds. 

Article 4 Protocol 4

The Court recalls that there had not been a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 as it was not persuaded that the measure taken by the authorities revealed the appearance of a collective expulsion within the meaning of this provision.


The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 5 para 4 of the Convention in so far as the applicants’ arrest and detention in June 2010 following their transfer to and stay at the ERU headquarters is concerned. The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 5 para 1 as the applicants were not deported to Syria until December. No violation of Article 5 para 2, and Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 was found.

Caselaw cited

Mannai v. Italy, Application no. 9961/10

Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom, Application Nos. 8319/07 and 11449/07

Chahal v the United Kingdom (Application no. 22414/93)

Mamatkulov Askarov v Turkey, Applications nos. 46827/99 and 46951/99

Hilal v United Kingdom, Application no. 45276/99

Conka v Belgium (Application no. 51564/99)

Collins and Akaziebe v Sweden (Application no. 23944/05)

Raza v. Bulgaria, Application No. 31465/08

NA v UK, Application No. 25904/07

Hirsi Jamaa and Others v Italy [GC], Application No. 27765/09

Boyle and Rice v. the United Kingdom, Application Nos. 9659/82 and 9658/82

N. v. Finland, Application No. 38885/02

M.A. v Cyprus, Application No. 41872/10

M.E. v. Denmark, Application no. 58363/10

Matsiukhina and Matsiukhin v. Sweden, Application No. 31260/04

Gebremedhin (Gaberamadhien) v France, Application No. 25389/05

A. A. M. v. Sweden, Application No. 68519/10

Keshmiri v. Turkey (no. 2), Application No. 22426/10 (UP)

Vučković and others v. Serbia (no. 17153/11)

IS.P. v. Belgium, Application No 12572/08

Vilvarajah and Others v. the United Kingdom, Application Nos. 3163/87 13164/87 13165/87 13447/87 13448/87

R.C. v. Sweden, Application no. 41827/07, 9 June 2010

Vallianatos and Others v. Greece [GC], nos. 29381/09 and 32684/09

A and M. v. the Netherlands, Application no. 50386/12

Saadi v Italy, Application no. 37201/06