Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
ECHR rules on unlawfulness of detention in immigration proceedings in Cyprus

Input Provided By
Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
European Convention on Human Rights; Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals);
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], Haghilo v Cyprus, 47920/12, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2019:0326JUD004792012, 26 March 2019. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:
According to the ECHR Press Release: The applicant, Mustafa Haghilo, is an Iranian national who was born in 1973 and is currently living in Armenia. The case concerned his detention pending deportation for over 18 months in three Cypriot police stations. Mr Haghilo left Iran in March 2011 and entered Cyprus unlawfully. Shortly after, he was arrested at Larnaca airport when trying to take a flight to London on a forged passport and was placed in detention. On 12 April 2011, while in detention, the applicant applied for asylum.On 13 October 2011 the Director of the Aliens and Immigration Service re-examined the applicant’s case and recommended that the authorities proceed with the applicant’s deportation following the dismissal of his asylum application by the Reviewing Authority. Bearing in mind the circumstances of the case, the Director decided that the principle of non-refoulement was not an obstacle to his removal. In April 2011 the Ministry of the Interior informed him of a decision to deport him because he was an illegal immigrant. From then, he was kept in holding facilities for immigration detainees at three different police stations. He was released in October 2012 because he had not been deported within the 18-month time-limit under the relevant European Union directive, as transposed into domestic law. He had previously been briefly released after a court hearing by the Supreme Court in December 2011 because it found that his detention had been unlawful as of October 2011, but was immediately rearrested when leaving the court and detained on the same grounds as the previous deportation orders against him. Mr Haghilo challenged the lawfulness of the new detention and deportation orders with the Supreme Court, but his recourse was dismissed in July 2012. The Supreme Court upheld that judgment in 2018 on appeal, noting that he had in the meantime left Cyprus for Armenia of his own free will and no longer had any legitimate interest in pursuing his appeal. Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Haghilo complained that he had been held in inadequate conditions in facilities which had not been designed for prolonged detention. Also relying, in particular, on Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security), he alleged that his detention from April 2011 to October 2012 had been unlawful and that he had not had an effective remedy at his disposal to challenge the lawfulness of his detention. The Court found: - Violation of Article 3 (degrading treatment) – concerning the conditions of detention - Violation of Article 5 § 1
Country of Decision
Council of Europe
Court Name
CoE: European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Detention/ Alternatives to Detention