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Saadi v. Italy, No. 37201/06, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 28 February 2008


Expulsion of a person considered to be a danger for national security, as he was accused of terrorism. Risk of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment in the country of destination. Violation of art. 3 ECHR. 

Normative references

Art. 3 ECHR


1. The applicant, a Tunisian citizen with a residence permit in Italy, was arrested and put in pre-trial detention on suspicion of international terrorism, then convicted. He was also sentenced in absentia by a Tunisian court. After serving his sentence in Italy, the Italian Minister of the Interior ordered him to be deported to Tunisia under the legislation on combating international terrorism. The applicant alleged that, if deported to Tunisia, he would suffer torture as well as inhumane and degrading treatment. 

2. The ECHR observed that the danger of terrorism and the difficulties of states in protecting their citizens from the terrorist threat must not be underestimated. However, art. 3 ECHR enshrines an absolute right and allowing the applicant to be deported to Tunisia, where the risk of him suffering torture and inhumane or degrading treatment is real, would result in a breach thereof. The ensurances given by Tunisian authorities to the Italian Government are not enough to guarantee that the applicant would not be harmed once in Tunisia.