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N.M. v. Belgio, No. 43966/19, ECtHR (Second Section), 18 April 2023


Administrative detention in partial isolation in a closed center for aliens pending removal due to risk to public order and national security. Review of the lawfulness of detention. Conditions of detention. No violation of Articles 5 and 3 ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 3 ECHR
Art. 5 ECHR


1.    Asylum claims do not make administrative detention for removal contrary to Article 5 § 1 (f) ECHR. What matters is that national authorities act with due diligence with regard to the conduct of the expulsion proceedings, also considering possible risks of ill-treatment associated with them.

2.    Administrative detention for a period of 31 months is not disproportionate in duration to the aim of removal. This is especially true in the case of complex proceedings and when the measure is justified by the need to protect public order and national security.

3.    Administrative detention in partial isolation does not constitute a violation of Article 3 ECHR when it is ordered against a person with radical views, who has contacts with terrorist groups, and who exhibits antisocial and proselytizing behavior.

(In the instant case, the applicant, an Algerian asylum seeker, had been detained in a closed center for aliens in Belgium for 31 months, six of which were spent in partial isolation. The applicant alleged a violation of Articles 5 and 3 of the ECHR with reference to multiple aspects. The Court notes that the detention had been ordered by the Belgian authorities for reasons mainly related to the applicant dangerousness and the protection of public order and national security. It then finds that the detention complies with Article 5 ECHR and points out, among other things, that the 31 months of detention must be considered a reasonable time in order to achieve the aim pursued by the Belgian authorities, namely the applicant’s removal to Algeria. The Court also notes that the Belgian tribunals had conducted a sufficient review of the lawfulness of the detention. Finally, it does not find that the applicant was subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR during his detention in partial isolation).