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On December 15th 2002, Ms. Yekaterina Popov arrived in France from Kazakhstan, to seek asylum. On  June 10th 2003, her husband Mr. Vladimir Popov joined her. On January 20th 2004, they were denied refugee status by OFPRA. On May 31st 2005, their appeal to the CRR was rejected. On n/a another application for refugee status was made by the family.

On August 27th 2007, the applicants and their two children (five months and 3 years old) were arrested and detained in police custody on an investigation for “illegal stay“. Then they were detained in an hotel in Angers before being transferred to the immigration detention center of Rouen-Oissel.

On September 10th 2007, the applicants filed their application with the ECHR arguing a violation of articles 3, 5-1-f) and 8 of the Convention due to their detention with their children in police custody and in the immigration detention center. In addition they complained of the violation of articles 3 and 8 if they were to be deported to Kazakhstan. On September 12th 2007, the applicants and their children were released. On July 16th 2009, the CRR granted them refugee status.

On October 19th 2009, the case was communicated to the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. On January 19th 2012, the Court ruled that the detention of the 2 children was in violation of article 3 on the ground that the immigration detention center of Rouen-Oissel was not adapted to detain children. It found a violation of articles 5-1-f) and 5-4 of the Convention because the detention of minor is not allowed by the French code of migration and asylum. The Court added that the detention of the family was a violation of article 8 of the Convention.

It awarded the family €10,000 for moral damages and €3,000 for legal fees. The applicants were represented by Me Denis Seguin.

Surprisingly, the Court found no violation of article 5-4 for the parents on the ground that a judge ruled on the legality of their detention at the request of the immigration office. Under French code of migration and asylum, the parents were not entitled to take any proceeding by which the lawfulness of their detention shall be decided (habeas corpus). The Court also didn’t rule on the allegations of violations of the Convention during the detention of the family in police custody.

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