CJEU Case C-182/15 | Aleksei Petruhhin

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Publication Date 2015-2016
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Information Guide concerning Case C-182/15 from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which relates to the extradition to a third country of a national of an EU Member State who has exercised their right to freedom of movement.

Further information:

Aleksei Petruhhin - an Estonian national - was made the subject of a priority Red Notice on Interpol's website. He was arrested in September 2014 in Latvia, then placed in provisional custody. In October 2014, the Latvian authorities received an extradition request from Russia. The request stated that criminal proceedings had been initiated against Mr Petruhhin for attempted large-scale, organised drug-trafficking.

Mr Petruhhin filed an appeal against the extradition decision, on the ground that, under the agreement on judicial assistance and judicial relations concluded between the Baltic countries, he enjoyed the same rights in Latvia as a Latvian national and that, since Latvian law prohibits in principle the extradition of Latvian nationals and, in accordance with a treaty concluded with Russia, Latvia does not extradite its own nationals to that country, Latvia was required to protect Mr Petruhhin against unjustified extradition. The Latvian Supreme Court (Augstākā tiesa) observed that neither national law nor any of the international agreements signed by Latvia with Russia or the other Baltic countries restrict the extradition of an Estonian national to Russia.

Nonetheless, the lack of protection of EU citizens against extradition, when they have moved to a Member State other than the one of which they are nationals, could be contrary to the right of EU citizens to protection equivalent to that of a Member State's own nationals. In those circumstances, the Supreme Court asked the CJEU whether, for the purposes of applying an extradition agreement concluded between a Member State and a non-Member State, the nationals of another Member State must benefit, in the light of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality and the freedom of movement and of residence of EU citizens, from the rule which prohibits the extradition by the first Member State of its own nationals. The Supreme Court also asked whether the requested Member State must verify that the extradition does not prejudice the rights protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The CJEU ruled on 6 September 2016 that a Member States is not required to grant every EU citizen who has moved within its territory the same protection against extradition as that granted to its own nationals. However, before extraditing the citizen, the Member State concerned must give priority to the exchange of information with the Member State of origin and allow that Member State to request the citizen’s surrender for the purposes of prosecution.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
EUCRIM: ECJ EU Criminal/Security Law Cases Overview: C‑182/15 https://eucrim.eu/ecj-eu-criminal-law-cases-overview/c18215/
European Law Blog: Tag: CASE C-182/15 - Petruhhin https://europeanlawblog.eu/tag/case-c-182-15-petruhhin/
Verfassungsblog: Tag: Petruhhin https://verfassungsblog.de/tag/petruhhin/
EU Law Analysis, 07/09/2016: Extradition to non-EU countries: the limits imposed by EU citizenship http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2016/09/extradition-to-non-eu-countries-limits.html
European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA): Briefing, November 2020: The Perplexities of the Petruhhin Judgment https://www.eipa.eu/publications/briefing/the-perplexities-of-the-petruhhin-judgment/

EurActiv, 06/09/2016: EU court allows extradition of citizens outside of bloc https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-court-allows-extradition-of-citizens-outside-of-bloc/
The Baltic Times, 06/09/2016: European court: Extradition of Estonian citizen to Russia by Latvia justified https://www.baltictimes.com/european_court__extradition_of_estonian_citizen_to_russia_by_latvia_justified/

CJEU CURIA: Case C-182/15 | Petruhhin https://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=C-182/15
CJEU: Press Release No 84/16, 06/09/2016: Judgment in Case C-182/15 Aleksei Petruhhin http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2016-09/cp160084en.pdf

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