ECHR forbids Russia to extradite protester to Belarus

Dzmitry Padlobnikau. Photo:

Russian human rights activists have received the European Court of Human Rights’ decision barring the Russian Federation from extraditing prisoner Dzmitry Padlobnikau (Dmitry Podlobnikov) to Belarus, Roman Kiselyov, a representative of the Moscow Helsinki Group, said on Telegram.

In accordance with the document, the Russian authorities shall not deliver Padlobnikau to Belarus at least until January 31. But Russia is known to have violated similar bans.

In Belarus, Dzmitry Padlobnikau might face up to 7 years of impisonment if he is found guilty of ‘disorderly conduct’ and ‘violence against a police officer’. At the moment, he is in Russia’s pre-trial detention centre Nr 4.

In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, 25-year-old Dzmitry Padlobnikau took part in peaceful protests in the town of Zhodzina; he showed up at the main square, where security forces beat him till he fainted. He was detained on August 9, 2020, but released three days later. Then the man left for Russia and worked there as a builder.

Belarusian protesters continue to be detained in Russia

Last winter, Dzmitry was detained in Mocow, and his mother’s place of residence in Belarus was searched. Padlobnikau appealed the extradition order, but Moscow Regional Court ruled that there was no evidence of torture or ill-treatment of the protester. At the same time, Russian human rights defenders stress that there is no doubt that at home Dzmitry is at risk of torture and that he will not face a fair trial.

“In 2021, the European Court of Human Rights has already banned the extradition of Belarusians three times under similar circumstances, pointing to the aforementioned risks. We are absolutely convinced that the extradition of Dzmitry Padlobnikau runs counter to Russia’s international obligation not to expel or return persons facing politically motivated persecution and torture at home,” the statement reads.

As reported earlier, Russia neglected the corresponding prohibition issued by the EHRC in the summer of 2021 and extradited prominent MMA fighter and boxing champion Alyaksei Kudzin to Belarus. There he was charged under Part 2 of Article 363 of the Criminal Code (‘resistance to a police officer or other person protecting public order in coincidence with the use of violence or the threat to use it’) and sentenced to 2.5 years in a minimum security penal colony. The Belarusian human rights community recognised Kudzin as a political prisoner.

Belarusian fighter Alyaksei Kudzin sentenced to 2.5 years in jail over participating in protests