Death penalty abolition

Topic Selected: Human Rights

General Article icon Type: General Article

Death row

Soering vs UK (application no. 14038/88) 7 July 1989

Mr Jens Soering was a German national detained in a prison in England pending extradition to the United States of America (USA) to face charges of murder for the stabbing to death of his girlfriend’s parents. He complained that, notwithstanding the assurances presented to the UK Government, there was a serious likelihood that he would be sentenced to death if extradited to the USA. He maintained that, in particular because of the ‘death row phenomenon’ where people spent several years in extreme stress and psychological trauma waiting to be executed, if extradited he would be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights found that Mr Soering’s extradition to the USA would expose him to a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3. In reaching that conclu

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