Recently Communicated Cases
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Alakbarov v. Azerbaijan (no. 55503/15) - Communicated 11 July 2017. Applicants are Azerbaijani nationals who follow the writings of Said Nursi, a Sunni Muslim theologian.  Applicants were present at a house that was raided by police and civil servants and then detained at police headquarters.  The Gadabay District Court found the applicants guilty of violating public order under Article 296 of the Code of Administrative Offenses ("the CAO") and viiolating the legislative rules on organizing and holding religious meetings under Artilce 299.0.2 of the CAO.  An appeal was dismissed because it was determined that the gathering was an unauthorized religious meeting.  The applicants complain under Artilcle 9 of the Convention that their administrative conviction amounted to an unlawful interference by the domestic authorities with their right to freedom of religion.  The Court questions whether there was an interference with the applicant's freedom of religion within the meaning of Article 9 § 1 of the Convention?  If so, was the interference prescribed by law and necessary in terms of Article 9 § 2 of the Convention? 

Pashayev and Others v. Azerbaijan (no. 18068/08) - Communicated 11 Juy 2017. Applicants are Azerbaijani nationals who were visiting the Guba DIstrict for a few days but were asked by authorities to comply with laws of termporary residence registration.  Applicants complain of a restriction in their right to travel under Articles 9 and 14 because they were singled out by the Guba District Court solely because they were dressed in traditional Islamic attire and wore long beards.  The Court questions whether their liberty of movement was restricted, whether there was interference with the applicant's freedom of religion and whether the applicants suffered the enjoyment of their Convention rights on the grounds of religion.  

Religious Community of Jehovah's Witnesses and Hansen v. Azerbaijan (no. 52682/07) - Communicated 11 July 2017. Applicants are a religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses ("the Congregation") with registered seat in Baku and Mr. Hansen, a Norwegian national who owns the building that the Congregation rents for the purposes of holding religious meetings.  The building was raided on 24 December 2006.  Computer equipment and religious paraphenaiia were confiscated.  Following an appeal by the prosecutor of the Khatai District to quash a previous order in favor of the Congregation, the Baku Court of Appeal reviewed the case in camera, without the applicants, and found that the police had acted in accordance with Article 177.6 of the Code of Criminal procedure.  The applicants complain that they were not notified of the prosecutor's appeal and were therefore deprived of their right to a fair trial.  They also complain of an unlawful interference by the domestic authorities with their freedom of worship and practice in violation of their rights to freedom of religion. 

Ossewaarde v. Russia (no. 27227/17) - Communicated 6 July 2017. Applicant is a United States citizen who iives in Russia. He was arrested following a Baptist prayer meeting that he held in his home and was convicted of conducting "missionary activities" without having notified authorities of establishing a religious group. The Court questions whether there was as violation of Articles 9 and 11 of the Convention in connection with the applicant's prosecution for the organization of Bible reading meetings? Also, did the Russian courts draw a distinction between "missionary activities" carried out by a religious group and individual evangelism and did they indicate any facts buttressing their conclusion?

Evangelical Christian Church New Generation in Blagoveshchensk v. Russia (no. 73458/11) - Communicated 6 July 2017. The applicant church is an organization registered as a religious organization under Russian law. Applicant complains under Article 9 on its own and in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention that the Russian courts unlawfully restricted the applicant's right to conduct sermons and distribute video recordings of its programs. Prohibition of the distribution of the applicant's DVDs was based on expert testimony that stated that the DVDs contained neuro-linquistic programming.  According to the Russian courts, this determination constituted an illegal and unlicensed use of medicine. The Court questions whether the Russian courts carried out an examination of the primary evidence to identify specific parts of the DVDs that would be problematic and dangerous for public health.  Also, did the Russian courts carry out a balancing exercise to weigh the public safety considerations against the countervailing principles of religious freedom.

Genc and Others v. Azerbaijan (no. 71032/12) - Communicated 6 July 2017. Applicants are Turkish immigrants of Islamic faith who were arrested at a religious meeting that was being held in a private home. Applicants were found guilty of violating legislation on freedom of religion relating to foreigners under Article 300.0.4 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. The applicants complain of unlawful intereference of the domestic authorities with their freedom of worship and practice which amounts to a violation of their right to freedom of religion.  

Niftaliyev and Others v. Azerbaijan (no. 561/12) - Communicated 6 July 2017. The applicants are Jehovah's Witnesses who were arrested during a religious meeting in a private home of one of the applicants.  Applicants were found guilty of violating legislation on organizing and holding religious meetings outside the religious organization's place of activity. The Court questions whether the interference was prescribed by law and necessary in terms of Articla 9§2 of the Convention

Sheveli and Shengelaya v. Azerbaijan (no. 42730/11) - Communicated 6 July 2017. The applicants are Georgian nationals who complain under Article 9 of the Convention that the unlawful interference of the domestic authorities with the applicant's freedom of worship and practice of their faith as Jehovah's Witnesses. Applicants were were participating in a religious worship service in a private apartment when they were arrested. Applicant's were convicted of violating the legislation on freedom of religion by foreigners under Article 300.0.4 of the Code of Administrative Offenses and ordered to be deported. The Court questions whether the interference was prescribed by law and necessary in terms of Article 9 § 2 of the Convention.  

Dyagilev v. Russia (no. 49972/16) - Communicated 29 June 2017.  The applicant is a Russian national who requested enlistment in a civil service assignment instead of Russia’s compulsory military alternative because of applicant’s adherence to pacifist philosophy. The applicant's request was denied.  The Court questions whether there was an interference with the applicant's freedom of conscience within the meaning of Article 9 § 2 of the Convention.

Milshteyn v. Russia (no. 1377/14) - Communicated 16 June 2017. The applicant is a follower of Elle-Ayat (or Alla-Ayat), a sun worshipping religious cult founded in 1990. The rituals of the cult include the reading of the Formula of Life written in Uyghur script, consumption of tea with milk and salt (called etken çay, “active tea”), observation of the Sun, and energy cleansing sessions. Followers of the cult formed a religious group in Novosibirsk, without legal-entity status. The applicant was also the publisher of a magazine mainly containing articles praising Elle-Ayat self-treatment methods and testimonials of followers who had recovered from ailiments including cancer. Government officials banned the activities of the organization and declared several issues of publication extremist and dangerous in the inducement to refuse medical assistance on religious grounds. The applicant complains of violations of ECHR Articles 9 (religion), 10 (expression), and 11 (assembly), taken alone and in conjunction with Article 14 (discrimination), and of Article 6 (fair hearing) in the proceedings on the application for banning of the activities of the applicant’s group.

Dzikowski v. Poland (no. 38799/11) - Communicated 27 May 2017. The applicant complains under Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention about the refusal to grant him leave from prison to conclude a religious (Islamic) marriage. The Court questions whether the planned religious marriage was a manifestation of the applicant’s freedom of religion within the meaning of Article 9 § 1 of the Convention.

Kilic v. Austria (no. 27700/15) - Communicated 23 May 2017. Applicants complain under ECHR Article 9 that their two youngest children have been placed in a Christian foster care family and are now growing up without learning the Turkish language and culture, and without any contact with the Muslim religion. They complain that the domestic courts ignored cultural, linguistic and religious factors when the children were placed with Christian foster parents who do not have any Turkish or Muslim background. Among other questions the Court asks whether statistics are available of how many foster families there are in Vienna and its surroundings who are Muslim and/or Turkish origin? Do the domestic authorities consider the cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious background of a child when choosing its foster parents? Are foster families sufficiently informed by the authorities on how to respect and consider the cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious identity of their foster children (if applicable).

Polat v. Austria (no. 12886/16) - Communicated 23 May 2017.The applicant complains under Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention that the carrying out of the post-mortem on her son’s body against her will had violated her right to respect of her private and family life as well as her right to freedom of religion as she was no longer able to bury her son in accordance to Muslim belief. The Court questions whether there was an interference with the applicant’s freedom of religion and if so, if the interference was necessary and prescribed by law in terms of Article 9 §2

Gridneva v. Azerbaijan (no. 29578/11) - Communicated 18 May 2017.Applicant complains under Article 9 that her freedom of worship and practice was violated when she was interrogated for eleven hours and charged under Article 300.0.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of distributing banned religious literature. The Court questions whether there was an interference with the applicant's freedom of religion and if so, if the interference was necessary and prescribed by law in terms of Article 9 §2.

Bryansk-Tula Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Free Church v. Russia (no. 32895/13) - Communicated 15 May 2017. The Russian Supreme Court allowed the Ministry of Justices action for dissolution holding that the applicant church failed to bring its founding documents into conformity with The Religious Act of 1997. Applicant’s complain that the dissolution was prompted by the Russian authorities’ determination to eradicate any competition with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Religious Community of Jehovah's Witnesses v. Azerbaijan (no. 52884/09) - Communicated 23 March 2017. The refusal by the State Committee for Work and Religious Associations to allow import of specific literature that contained content hostile to other (mostly Christian) religions was upheld on appeal. The applicant community complains that domestic authorities refusal to allow the import of religious literature constituted unlawful interference, under Articles 9 and 10, with its rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Gabunia and Others v. Georgia (No. 37276/05) - Communicated 14 March 2017. Applicants complain that their right to freely practice their religion under Article 9 in conjuction with Article 14, because, inter alia, their religious meetings were violently disrupted. 

Kolyasnikov v. Russia (no. 39776/15) - Communicated 23 February 2017. The application concerns the applicant's prosecution for holding a Bible-reading meeting in a café without prior notification to authorities.  The Court has already found that the requirement of notification for holding a religious meeting in a café had no basis in Russian law and was not necessary in a democratic society (see Krupko and Others v. Russia, no. 26587/07 §§ 54-57, 26 June 2014). 

Pakiela v. Poland (no. 74683/13) - Communicated 22 February 2017.  Prisoner in Poland complains of being fed meat products despite his requests for a vegetarian diet per his religioius dietary requirements.  The Court questions whether the State's failure to conform with the prisoner's convictions constitute an "interference" with the applicant's freedom of religion within the meaning of Article 9 of the Convention. 

Mirazayev v. Azerbaijan (no. 41792/15) - Communicated 9 February 2017.  The applicant is an Azerbaijani national and Jehovah Wintess convicted of refusing military service.  His cassation appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court because relevant leglislation had not yet been passed and alternatives to service only appied when the nation was not at war.  The Court questions whether there has been an interference with the appiicant's freedom of thought, conscience, or religion, whintin the meaning of Article 9 §1 of the Convention, on account of the applicant's criminal conviction for refususing to perform his miitary service?  If so, was that intereference prescribed by law and necessary in terms of Article 9 §2. 

Simonyan and "Word of Life" Church v. Armenia (no. 30817/13) - Communicated 26 January 2017. Media accusations labeled the church a "sect" which the church believes was discriminatory and breached the State's duty of impartiality an neutrality in religious matters.  

Krishna Consciousness Societies in Russa and Frolov v. Russia (no. 37477/11) - Communicated 23 January 2017. A Krishna Center complains that information disseminated by public authorities in their "Beware of Sects" program incited enmity and hatred on the grounds of religious belief. 

Guven v. Turkey (no. 47713/12) - Communicated 18 January 2017. Signed petitions in support of the founder of PKK found in possession of the applicant were held to be propoganda in violation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.  Complaint claims a violation of freedom of thought and expression.

Yamac v. Turkey (no. 5642/13) - Communicated 18 January 2017. Applicant is a Turkish national arrested for disseminating propoganda about the PKK because of comments made at the funeral of a PKK militant. Complaint is a violation of freedom of expression.

Taran v. Russia (no. 11327/10) - Communicated 2 May 2016.  Old Believer accused of crimes, remanded in custody, and forcibly shaved off by prinson officer, complains that the decision to remand lacked sufficient reason, that his Convention rights were violated when prison officials forcibly shaved the beard required by his faith.

Hamidović v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (no. 57792/15) - Communicated 24 March 2016. Adherent of Wahhabi/Salafi version of Islam called to testify in court alleges violation of Convention rights in punishment for refusing to remove his cap (symbol of his religion) in the courtroom.

Pingen v. Germany (no. 11344/16) and Tlpak v. Germany (no. 11308/16) - Communicated 16 March 2016. Applicant members of the Twelve Tribes church (Zwölf Stämme) complain, mainly under Article 8, about decisions of the domestic courts regarding custody of their children.

Aydan and Others v. Armenia (no. 75604/11) - Communicated 29 February 2016. Four Jehovah's Witnesses complain of detention following their objection to the fact that the presecribed alternative to military service was still under supervision of the military.

Stern Taulats and Roura Capellera v. Spain (no. 51168/15) - Communicated 22 February 2016.  The applicants were convicted of criminal insult to the Crown, when, during a demonstration in connection with a visit of the King of Spain, with their faces covered, thye set fire to an actual-size photograph of the royal couple, in a public square. Sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment (later replaced by a fine), they complain before the Court of violation of their rights to freedom of thought and expression. 

Alekseyev and 50 other applications v. Russia  (no. 14988/09) - Communicated 15 January 2016. The applicants are Russian nationals who lodged legal notices of public LGBT assemblies but were refused permission, in each case after the announced date of the assembly. They complain of violation of their rights of peaceful assembly under ECHR Article 11, of discimination, and of no effective remedy for the violation of their rights.

Kornilova v. Ukraine (no. 47283/14) - Communicated 10 December 2015. The applicant Jehovah Witness was assaulted during a door-to-door visit distributing invitation cards for a religious service. She complains under Articles 3, 9 and 14 that her allegations of ill-treatment on the grounds of her religion have not been properly investigated and examined by the domestic authorities.

Lachiri v. Belgium (no. 3413/09) - Communicated 9 October 2015. A Muslim woman complains that the decision of a magistrate of a court of appeals to exclude her from a courtroom when she refused to remove her hijab infringed her rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

Tsulukidze and Others v. Georgia (no. 14797/11) - Communicated 28 September 2015. Applicants, 16 Jehovah's Witnesses, complain under Articles 3 and 9 of the Convention taken separately and in conjunction with Article 14 about the religiously motivated violence to which they were subjected in Georgia and the relevant authorities’ failure to prevent, stop or redress the alleged violations.

Vavřička, Novotná, Hornych, Brožík, Dubský, Roleček v. Czech Republic (nos. 47621/13, 3867/14, 73094/14, 19306/15, 19298/15, 43883/15) - Communicated 7 and 9 September 2015). Applicants (in six consolidated cases) complain that national legislation requiring vaccination of their children against poliomyelitis, hepatits B, and tetanus before they can be admitted to school is a violation of their private and family life as protected by Article 8 of the Convention, of their Article 9 rights to freedom of conscience, and their childrens' rights to education under Article 2 of Protocol 1. Some complain as well of lack of legal remedy (Article 6).

Tserkov Yevangelskikh Khristian-Baptistov and Panasenko v. Russia (no. 70090/10) - Communicated 28 August 2015). A registered religious organization and its presbyter complain that administrative offence proceedings against them for conducting Christian club meetings for children on Saturdays and Sundays disproportionately restricted their Article 9 rightsof freedom to manifest their religion/belief in teaching, as their activities did not fall within the scope of "educational activities", which required a State licence. The applicants also allege under Article 14 that they were treated differently as compared to numerous Orthodox organisations, which were permitted to carry out similar activities without a State licence.

Dakir v. Belgium (no. 4619/12) - Communicated 9 July 2015. A Muslim woman had chosen of her own will from age 16 to wear a niqab (veil covering her face except for the eyes) for religious purposes. She has always agreed to remove the veil for reasons of identification, as requested by authorities, notably for the issuance of an identity card. Invoking ECHR Articles 8, 9, and 10 taken alone and in combination with Article 14, she complains that the French prohibition of wearing the veil in public violates her rights to privacy, to manifest religious belief, and to freedom of expression, and discriminates against her in enjoyment of these rights. She further complains under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 that she lacks an effective remedy and access to courts in seeing redress.

Mockutė v. Lithuania (no. 66490/09) - Communicated 19 June 2015. The applicant asserts breaches of her Article 8 right to privacy and her Article 9 right to practice her religion resulting from incidents during her stay at a psychiatric hospital. 

Belkacemi and Oussar v. Belgium (no. 37798/13) - Communicated 9 June 2015.Muslim women complain about the ban in Belgian law on wearing the full-face veil, as violation their rights to respect for private and; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and prohibition of discrimination.

Klein, Nussbaum, Redeker, Gloeckner v. Germany (nos. 10138/11, 16687/11, 25359/11, 28919/11) - Communicated 8 June 2015.The applicants complain under ECHR Article 9 that the levying by German authorities of the Church tax and a special Church fee violated their freedom of religion. Three of the applicants complain under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 9 that the levying of the special Church tax was discriminatory against women.

Union des Familles en Europe v. France (no. 25317/13) - Communicated 21 May 2015.The applicant organization incorporated complains, relying on Articles 9 and 11, that its not being or desiring to become a member of the national union of families (UNAF), which precludes its participation in the economic, social, and environmental council (CESE), of which it would like to be a part, is a violation of the right not to join an association. Relying on Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 11, the applicant complains of discrimination between family associations who, like them, choose not to join the UNAF, and those who choose to join resulting from the fact that only the latter have access to CESE, since UNAF has exclusive direct or indirect designation of representatives of family associations within it.

Muslim Board Startsevo v. Bulgaria (no. 41214/13) - Communicated 13 May 2015.The applicant organisation complains under Article 9 that its freedom to manifest its religion has been breached as the municipal authorities continuously prevented it from observing Muslim religion rituals when burying the dead in cemetery it has owned for over 100 years. The organisation also complains under Article 13 that it did not have an effective domestic remedy in respect of the alleged breach of Article 9.

Baydar v. Turkey (no. 25632/13) - Communicated 17 November 2014. The applicant is a conscientious objector to required military service. 

A.S.R. v. Turkey (no. 60079/14) - Communicated 13 November 2014. The applicant converted to Christianity while living in Iran and complains that he is at risk of being returned to Iran. 

L’Archidiocèse Catholique de Bucarest v. Romania (no. 3524/10) - Communicated 10 October 2014. The case concerns the construction of a tower next to a Catholic cathedral. The applicant claims that the tower's presence infringes on the freedom of religious practice of believers.

M.R. v. Netherlands (no. 60814/14) - Communicated 2 September 2014. The applicant is an Iranian national seeking asylum in the Netherlands. He claims that his return to Iran would put him in danger because of his conversion to Christianity.

Bektashi Community and Others v. Macedonia (no. 48044/10) - Communicated 25 August 2014. The Bektashi Community is a religious community in Macedonia which was denied official legal status. The applicants are complaining under Article 6 (right to a fair trial) as well as Articles 9, 11, and 14.

Stavropigijalen Manastir 'Sveti Jovan Zlatoust' and the Church of Real Orthodox Christians and Kiril v. Macedonia (nos. 52849/09 and 35700/11) - Communicated 25 August 2014. The two applicants are religious organizations which applied for registration but were refused. They are complaining under Articles 9 and 11 in conjunction with Article 14.

Fondation du Monastere Syriaque de Saint-Gabriel à Midyat v. Turkey (no. 61412/11) - Communicated 18 August 2014. The case is a property dispute involving a monastery in Turkey.

Samadov v. Azerbaijan (no. 48431/11) - Communicated 30 June 2014. The chairman of the Azerbaijan Islamic Party is appealing his arrest after giving a speech criticizing the government and the ban on wearing Islamic veils in schools.

Holmatova and Others v. Turkey (no. 14355/13) - Communicated 26 June 2014. An Uzbek family who fled religious persecution seeks asylum in Turkey and complains about the conditions of their conditions.

Karatayev v. Russia (no. 56109/07) - Communicated 17 June 2014. Newspaper publisher appeals criminal charges against an article about the history of the swastika in Hindu and early Slavic religious traditions.

Yehova'nin Şahitlerini Destekleme Derneği and Others v. Turquie (nos. 36915/10 and 8606/13) - Communicated 6 June 2014. Turkish Jehovah's Witness organization complains of discrimination and bureaucratic obstacles to establishing centers of worship. 

Biserica Evanghelica Romana - Parohia Poenarii Burchii v. Romania (no. 44040/06) - Communicated 20 May 2014. A parish of the Romanian Evangelical Church complains of discrimination as to their burial rights

Oliari and Others  v. Italy (nos. 18766/11 and 36030/11)  and Orlandi and Others v. Italy (nos. 26431/12, 26742/12, 44057/12, 60088/12) - Communicated 12 March 2014. Same-sex marriage cases.