EU rights court censures Italy for Tunisian's deportation

5th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy on Tuesday to pay damages to a Tunisian man for ignoring a court order and sending him home, where he claims he was tortured.

Ali Ben Sassi Toumi, a Tunisian national married to an Italian, was sentenced to six years in jail by a court in Milan in 2007 for international terrorism.

The sentence was remitted and Toumi released in May 2009, after which he was sent to Tunisia in contravention of an order by the ECHR, which said at the time that Toumi ran a real risk of torture if deported.

Toumi claimed he was arrested on arrival in Tunisia, tortured in detention, and released after 10 days without having had access to a lawyer.

Toumi's expulsion "constituted a serious impediment to the fulfilment by the (Italian) government of their obligations to safeguard the applicant's rights," said the court.

It ordered Italy to pay Toumi 15,000 euros ($ 21,250) in damages and 6,500 euros for costs and expenses.

The court rejected Italy's assertion that assurances given by Tunisia had offered Toumi effective protection against torture.

"Reliable international sources indicated that allegations of ill-treatment were not investigated by the competent authorities in Tunisia and that the Tunisian authorities were reluctant to cooperate with independent human rights organisations," said a court statement.

© 2011 AFP

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