Thursday, July 7

Strasbourg does not admit due to “insufficient evidence” the claim of a beaten migrant in Melilla in a case of hot returns

“Insufficient evidence.” It is the conclusion of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the case of Doumbe Nnabuchi, a Cameroonian migrant who was beaten and returned to Morocco by the Civil Guard in 2014 despite being apparently unconscious. Therefore, the Court based in Strasbourg has agreed this Thursday the “non-admission” of the claim.

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In the present case, “the Court observes that the evidence provided by the plaintiff is insufficient and that, furthermore, the Government has provided solid grounds to question its validity. In support of his assertions, the applicant provided video images showing the assault of the fences as described by him, in which he affirmed that he could recognize himself. The expert reports provided by the Government, for their part, demonstrated the impossibility of identifying the applicant, although they did not exclude him from the outset. , the complainant himself did not provide any convincing argument in this regard. ”

The Court, moreover, in its judgment affirms that “the plaintiff, who appeared before the Court as Albert Julio Doumbe Nnabuchi, has not provided any credible evidence that shows at least that his nickname corresponds to the identity of Dany Williams, that both parties coincide in which it was the name of the person involved in the incident. In fact, the plaintiff has contradicted himself in several respects, and his account of the events differs from what can be deduced from those same videos. ”

The Court also notes that “the plaintiff did not appear before the national courts”, and states: “If the plaintiff had appeared before the national courts to challenge the conduct of the Civil Guard agents at the border fences, the question of his identity it would have been addressed prior to his application to the Court, and the courts would have been in a better position to address this issue. ”

Therefore, “the Court considers that the plaintiff has not provided evidence prima facie of their participation in the events and that the evidence presented before the Court has been adequately refuted by the Government. Consequently, the claim must be declared inadmissible. ”

Danny’s case

Although the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) endorsed in February last year the hot returns of NT and ND, two migrants who jumped the Melilla fence, there was still another case in Strasbourg pending a resolution on this type of immediate expulsions. This is the case of Doumbe Nnabuchi, who was known as Danny, a young man who was beaten and returned to Morocco, apparently unconscious, by Civil Guard agents in 2014 after jumping over the fence in Melilla. This Thursday, the Court will issue its verdict on whether the action, which was collected in some controversial images of the Prodein organization, violates European regulations.

On October 15, 2014, after a group of migrants of sub-Saharan origin jumped over the Melilla fence, several men remained perched on top of the fence, in the area closest to the Spanish side. In order to lower them, the Civil Guard struck several blows to at least one of the men, Dany, when he was about to descend from the top of the gate through a ladder placed by the Armed Institute, according to the video released then by the NGO Prodein. The young man, after falling to the ground, was tied hand and foot by the civil guards and flown back to Morocco.

The border point where Dany tried to jump was then formed by three successive fences, the two outer ones twenty feet high. According to the complainant’s account collected by the Strasbourg Court, when Dany began to descend the ladder provided by the Civil Guard, four officers “beat her with truncheons on her legs, arms and ribs” and “another civil guard with a black cap he approached the place where the plaintiff was and hit him on the knee. ” Then “the Cameroonian was hit in the hand with a baton and fell to the ground from a height of two meters” where he “remained unconscious”.

Then, the agents “handcuffed him, pushed him to the ground” and handed him over, grabbed by the hands and feet by several civil guards, to the Moroccan police. “At no time was he subjected to any identification procedure. He was not given the opportunity to be assisted by lawyers or interpreters, to request asylum or international protection, or to file an appeal. Nor was he entitled to healthcare,” the lawsuit says. .

The activist who recorded the images that allowed the case to be reported, José Palazón, awaits the sentence from Melilla. He trusts that the mistreatment received by this young man, demonstrated through his videos, will lead to a conviction. “Those images were terrible because of the mistreatment that is seen, beyond the deportation suffered by him and other colleagues. Terrifying. The boy was abandoned when he needed medical treatment. From a court we hope that justice will be done and that this boy receives compensation because of what happened to him. But nowadays there is nothing certain “, explains the director of Prodein to

For years, Palazón has been in contact with the complainant. “He has taken it badly. He was in Morocco for a long time, trying in a frustrated way to migrate to Spain. He made a great effort. To understand it, you have to know the imperative need he had to leave. The goal of his life is to help his family That is why life has been risked, “says the activist. Danny left his country in 2011. He arrived in Morocco via Algeria and made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Melilla. On at least six of these occasions, the Cameroonian claims to have been returned to Morocco by Spanish security forces, according to the lawsuit.

The Doumbe Nnabuchi case not only focuses on his hot return, but also on the violence exerted by the agents. The blows inflicted on the migrant, who claims not to have received health care before being returned to Morocco, could also violate article three of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, according to the Andalusian legal coordinator Welcome, Pilar Rondón.

Strasbourg’s position on returns

In June of last year, the NGO Andalucía Acoge, which represents the complainant, registered before Strasbourg a series of allegations about the foreseeable application of the principles with which the Grand Chamber protected the hot returns made by Spain a few months earlier. His writing sought to discredit some of the reasons on which the sentence is based, such as the existence of legal routes of entry to Spain for sub-Saharan migrants.

Strasbourg concluded in February that the lack of prior individualized study in the case under study could be justified by “the fact that the applicants had not used the existing official entry procedures for that purpose, and that, therefore, [la devolución] it had been a consequence of their own conduct. “However, different international organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, deny that sub-Saharan migrants have a real possibility to request international protection at the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, since it is very difficult for them to regularly access the Spanish side of the perimeter without being stopped by Morocco.

Regarding the possibility of requesting asylum at the border post of Beni Enzar (Melilla), one of the regular channels highlighted in the ruling, Andalucía Acoge stressed to the court that “the figures that appear in the sentence” about the demands of protection presented at this point “does not correspond to the evidence and allegations raised in this regard by the parties” during the proceeding. “This extreme is fundamental given that, in the Court’s opinion, these figures show the real and effective possibility that sub-Saharan people had to enter / request asylum legally in Spanish territory,” the brief details.

Regarding the possibilities that black people have to access the asylum offices on the Spanish side of the border, José Luis Rodríguez Candela, the complainant’s lawyer, reiterates in his letter that this route “was not a real or accessible option for women. Sub-Saharan people, neither before nor after the installation of the aforementioned special unit in charge of asylum issues. ” The NGO has insisted before Strasbourg that the very documents presented by the Government of Spain to defend the existence of legal routes of entry “confirm that the applications presented each year by sub-Saharan people were 0 in 2014 and 0 in 2015”. In other words, they demonstrate the obstacles black migrants face when accessing asylum offices at the border.