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ECHR judgement due on immigration officers powers

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ECHR judgement due on immigration officers powers

Post by Doug D on 26.02.19 10:38

ECHR judgment due in next couple of days for this case.
 
Surely they can’t rule against the immigration officers doing what they are paid to do, can they?  
 
Beghal v. the United Kingdom (no. 4755/16) 
The case concerns the use of counter-terrorism legislation giving immigration officers the power to stop, search and question passengers at ports, airports and international rail terminals. 
 
The applicant, Sylvie Beghal, is a French national who was born in 1969 and lives in Leicester (United Kingdom).
 
On 4 January 2011 Mrs Beghal arrived at East Midlands Airport following a visit to her husband, who was in prison in France for terrorism offences. Her flight landed at 8.05pm.
 
She was stopped under counter-terrorism legislation, namely Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, giving police and immigration officers the power to stop, search and question passengers at ports, airports and international rail terminals. The legislation does not require prior authorisation and the power to stop and question may be exercised without suspicion of involvement in terrorism.
 
Mrs Beghal was told by border officials that she was not under arrest and that they did not suspect her of being a terrorist, but that they needed to speak to her to establish if she might be “a person concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism”.
 
After being given time to pray, she was searched, allowed to speak with her lawyer by telephone and then taken to an examination room where she was questioned for about 30 minutes. She refused to answer questions without her lawyer present. She was told that she was “free to go” at around 10 p.m. 


She was subsequently charged with, in particular, wilfully failing to comply with a duty under Schedule 7. She pleaded guilty in December 2011 and was conditionally discharged. 


She challenged the powers given to the police under Schedule 7 before both the High Court and the Supreme Court, alleging a violation of her rights under the European Convention. However, the national courts found in particular that the Schedule 7 powers were “in accordance with the law” and proportionate. 


Ms Beghal alleges that the police powers under Schedule 7 of the counter-terrorism legislation breached her rights under Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life). 


https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press#{"itemid":["003-6337196-8287123"]}
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Doug D

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Re: ECHR judgement due on immigration officers powers

Post by Doug D on 02.03.19 9:27

No surprises there then!
 
At least they didn’t award her damages as well.
 
 
Powers to stop, search and question passengers in the UK in 2011 lacked sufficient legal safeguards 


issued by the Registrar of the Court 
ECHR 075 (2019) 28.02.2019
 

In today’s Chamber judgmentin the case of Beghal v. the United Kingdom (application no. 4755/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
 
a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
 
The case concerned the use of counter-terrorism legislation giving immigration officers the power to stop, search and question passengers at ports, airports and international rail terminals. The applicant, Sylvie Beghal, had been stopped and questioned at East Midlands Airport in 2011. 


The Court found that the legislation in force at that time had not been sufficiently circumscribed nor were there adequate legal safeguards against abuse. In particular, people could be subjected to examination for up to nine hours and compelled to answer questions, without being formally detained or having access to a lawyer. 


In reaching that conclusion the Court did not consider amendments since made to the legislation. In particular, as of 2014, border officials have been required to take a person into detention if they wish to examine him or her for longer than an hour, to only commence questioning after the arrival of a solicitor, and to release those being questioned after six hours. 


No award of damages was made to the applicant as the Court considered that the finding of a violation was sufficient. 


1. Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day. 
Once a judgment becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of its execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here: www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution


Full press release can be found here:


https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press#{"itemid":["003-6342405-8297148"]}
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