Conviction of Germany by the ECtHR for discrimination - Police check carried out on a dark-skinned train passenger

The European Court of Human Rights held that there has been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention in the case Basu v. Germany (no. 215/19).

The applicant, Biplab Basu, is a German national who was born in 1955 and lives in Berlin. The case concerns Mr Basu’s allegation that the police carried out an identity check on him only because of his skin colour. He was travelling on a train which had just passed the border from the Czech Republic in 2012, with his daughter. Basu is a German national of Indian origin. When asked, the police told him that it was a random check.

Basu unsuccessfully brought an action in the courts, arguing that he and his daughter were singled out as they were the only passengers with dark skin colour in the train carriage.

Relying on Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention, Mr Basu complains that the identity check amounted to racial discrimination and that the domestic courts refused to investigate or examine on the merits his allegations. He also relies on Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement) to the Convention to complain that there was no legal basis for the identity check.

Τhe ECtHR observes that it has found a breach of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8 essentially because the administrative courts declined to examine the merits of the applicant’s complaint about having been treated in a discriminatory manner by the identity check, which is also the gist of the applicant’s complaint under Article 13.

The applicant did not submit any claims for just satisfaction.

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