The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will consider the merits of the complaint filed by Al Madani against the Government of the Netherlands. His son was shot by the police and fatally wounded. The ECtHR has announced the communication of the complaint and the focus of its examination on its website (see here).

Background of the case

Mr. Yazan Al Madani was the 27-year-old son of Momtaz Al Madani.  He had fled the war in Syria and was living with his father in Schiedam. On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Yazan Al Madani was suffering from psychosis. He was standing on the balcony of his father's home. He was under the delusion that people wanted to kill him and held a kitchen knife to defend himself. Father Al Madani contacted the Schiedam police. He told the police that Yazan was very confused and hoped someone could help him.          

An arrest and support team (AOT) entered the home with shields, a taser and a dog. The plan was to overpower Yazan and take him to a mental health facility. Father Al Madani had a strong impression that the members of the arrest unit did not fully understand Yazan's situation at the time of entering the residence.   

The police almost immediately released their unleashed service dog on Yazan. When that did not help, the police administered two electric shocks to Yazan with a taser. Then three members of the AOT fired their pistols at Yazan eight times, seriously injuring him. Several days later, Yazan died as a result of his injuries.

The prosecutor decided not to prosecute the officers who shot Yazan. Father Al Madani filed a complaint against this decision with the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal rejected this complaint on January 7, 2021. The Court found it plausible that the police officers had used their firearms in self-defence. Father Al Madani subsequently filed a complaint with the ECtHR.

ECtHR case

The ECtHR has made clear that its examination will focus on Yazan Al Madani's right to life (Article 2 ECHR). The ECtHR will examine whether Yazan’s death did result from a use of force which was absolutely necessary. The ECtHR will also examine whether the Dutch authorities, who were aware of Yazan's mental condition, had taken appropriate care to ensure that any risk to life was minimised and that they were not negligent in their choice of action. Finally, the ECtHR will examine whether the Dutch authorities' investigation into Yazan's death met the requirements of Article 2 ECHR.

Father Al Madani has been trying for more than four years to establish that the shooting of his son was unlawful. He is also trying to draw attention to the absence of good mental health care for refugees seeking asylum in the Netherlands. The long duration of these proceedings, during which Yazan had to wait almost two years in an AZC, without the right medical care, had a huge impact on his mental well-being. However, Father Al Madani is pleased that, after more than a year and eight months, the ECtHR will examine the case of his son and that the ECtHR is asking critical questions.

Mr. Al Madani is represented in these proceedings by lawyer Frederieke Dölle and supported by Controle Alt Delete.


Photo Yazan al Madani photo by Momtaz al Madani 2

Yazan Al Madani

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