Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Child Custody Row Goes To ECHR

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A father's rights in a child custory battle and allegations of police brutality are among the cases scheduled to come before the European Court of Human Rights next week.

Serghides v. Poland (no. 31515/04)

The applicant, Andreas Serghides, is a British national who was born in 1971 and lives in London. He married a Polish national and they settled in London. A daughter was born in 1998.

The case concerns the applicant’s request for the return to the United Kingdom of his daughter, who was taken by the mother to Poland. Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), he complains that the Polish procedures relating to his request have not been followed up with due diligence.

In his view, because of the procedural delays, his emotional ties with his child have weakened and, as a result, the decision ordering the child’s return to the United Kingdom has been reversed.

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Kovalchuk v. Ukraine (no. 21958/05)

Samardak v. Ukraine (no. 43109/05)

The applicants are two Ukrainian nationals: Vladimir Kovalchuk, born in 1974 and now deceased; and, Ivan Samardak, who was born in 1952 and lives in Lviv (Ukraine). Both cases concern ill-treatment by the police. Mr Kovalchuk alleges that he was ill-treated in September 2002 when held in police custody in order to make him confess to a murder; and, Mr Samardak that he was severely beaten and hung from a pipe in April 2002 when taken for questioning at a police station for playing with a knife at a bus stop. The criminal proceedings against Mr Kovalchuk were discontinued in December 2002 due to lack of evidence; Mr Samardak was released immediately after his questioning without his detention being recorded. Both applicants also complain that the investigations into their complaints of ill-treatment were ineffective. They rely on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).

Aleksandr Sokolov v. Russia (no. 20364/05)

The applicant, Aleksandr Sokolov, is a Russian national who was born in 1965 and lived, before his arrest, in Lipetsk (Russia). In January 2005 he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in a high-security institution. Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment), he alleges that when arrested by the police on 19 February 2004 he was repeatedly ill-treated until he finally confessed to the murder the next day. Notably he claims that he was beaten with a baseball bat, kicked and had his genitals burnt with a lighter as well as a bottle inserted in his anus. He further alleges that his detention between 19 and 20 February was unrecorded, in breach of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security).

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