ECHR on 6-year-old’s death: Croatia violated European Convention on Human Rights

NEWS 18.11.2021 14:29
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Source: Marko Lukunic / Pixsell

Croatia violated a series of articles in the European Convention on Human Rights, including the one on the right to life and the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided on Thursday in the case of 6-year-old Afghan girl Madina Hussiny, who died in late 2017 after being hit by a train on the Croatia-Serbia border.

Judges in the Strasbourg court’s Council determined that the Croatian authorities failed to investigate the case efficiently.

Six-year-old Madina Hussiny lost her life on the train tracks near the Serbian border in November 2017, after the Croatian police had denied her and her family the right to apply for asylum and ordered them to follow the tracks back to Serbia in the middle of the night. Madina’s death prompted the family, at the time staying in the Serbian border town of Sid, to sue unidentified members of the Croatian police through a legal team from Croatia.

The family had re-entered Croatia ultimately, and were detained in the transit centre in the border town of Tovarnik, where they stayed while requesting asylum and international protection.

The family’s attorneys had said at the time that police had banned them from contacting their clients despite a power of attorney which the family had previously signed in front of five witnesses in Sid, authorising the attorneys to legally represent them.

In the Thursday’s decision, the Court found that the family’s detention had “amounted to ill-treatment.”

“…the decisions around the applicants’ detention had not been dealt diligently. (The Court) also held that some of the applicants had suffered a collective expulsion from Croatia, and that the State had hindered the effective exercise of the applicants’ right of individual application by restricting access to their lawyer, among other things,” the Court decision states.

“This is a small bit of satisfaction after an enormous tragedy and harsh violations of human rights suffered by the Hussiny family. I hope that Croatia will reevaluate its treatment and act in line with the clear decision of the European Court that the statute of limitations for prosecuting those responsible did not yet run out in this case,” Sanja Bezbradica, the family’s attorney, told N1.

Croatia must pay €40,000 to the family, as well as €16,700 in court fees.

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