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ECtHR rules on legality of detention of Pakistani asylum applicant for more than five months pending asylum procedures

Input Provided By
Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
European Convention on Human Rights;
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], M.K. (Pakistan) v Hungary, Application no. 46783/14, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2020:0609JUD004678314, 09 June 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

The applicant is a Pakistani national whose identity was checked by police in Csongrád. The applicant admitted that he crossed the Hungarian border illegally. The next day he applied for asylum and was placed in detention for five months and a half as he did not have any identity documents. In the meantime, he was interviewed for his asylum application, which was rejected and he was granted subsidiary protection.

Under Article 5 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant argued that his detention had not been lawful or justified. The Government argued that the detention measure was justified under Article 5 § 1 (f) (“to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country”). In this case the Court attached particular importance to the reasonable length of the detention. It observes that a detention lasting five‑and-a-half months raises concerns, even irrespective of the conditions of detention. The Court found that the authorities' reliance on the need to confirm the applicant's identity and nationality, and the need to ensure his presence for the asylum procedure were initially justified, but with the passage of time they were no longer sufficient, also considering that in August 2013 the case had been declared admissible. Thus, the Court found a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention.

Country of Decision
Council of Europe
Court Name
CoE: European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]
Case Number
Application no. 46783/14
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Detention/ Alternatives to Detention