European Court of Human Rights: few hours' detention of airline passenger for airport security checks not excessive

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

In its decision in the case of Gahramanov v. Azerbaijan (application no. 26291/06) the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has, by six votes to one, declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.

The case concerned an airline passenger who complained in particular that his detention by the State Border Service (SBS) for airport security checks had been unlawful. The Court considered that the period during which the applicant had been compelled to stay at the airport had not exceeded the time strictly necessary for fulfilling the relevant administrative formalities in order to clarify his situation. Indeed, his detention had not lasted more than a few hours and he had been allowed to leave the airport immediately after the checks had been carried out.

Therefore, the Court concluded that his detention had not amounted to a deprivation of liberty within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security). This is the first time the Court has dealt with the issue of deprivation of liberty in the context of airport security checks.

Source: ECHR press release 327 (2013) of Nov. 7, 2013

Find full text of judgement here>>.

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