The Netherlands may not deport a sick Russian because he cannot obtain cannabis in his home country

The Netherlands is not allowed to deport a seriously ill Russian man who is being treated in the country because he does not have medicinal cannabis available in his home country. This is evident from a judgment of the European Court of Justice on Tuesday.

The case revolves around a Russian man who developed a rare form of blood cancer at the age of sixteen. The man is currently being treated in the Netherlands. Among other things, he receives medicinal cannabis for pain relief. In Russia, the use of medical cannabis is not allowed.

The young man submitted several asylum applications in the Netherlands, the last of which was rejected in 2020. A return decision was therefore adopted, against which he appealed to the court in The Hague. The man is of the opinion that he should be granted a residence permit, or that he should at least be granted a postponement of removal, because the treatment based on medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands is so essential to him that if it is discontinued he will no longer be on a humane way to live.

The court in The Hague appealed to the European Court of Justice. This ruled in a judgment on Tuesday that a third-country national suffering from a serious illness cannot be removed if he cannot receive adequate treatment in the country of destination and therefore runs the risk of a rapid, significant and irreversible increase in the pain caused by that illness.

According to EU law, expulsion is not possible “when there are compelling and well-founded reasons to believe that the return of this third-country national would expose him to a real risk of a rapid, significant and irreversible increase in the pain caused by his illness because in the country of origin destination no appropriate care is available”.

If the only effective painkiller, cannabis in this case, cannot be legally administered to him in the country of destination and the lack of such treatment would expose him to such intense pain, there are such compelling and well-founded reasons, according to still the court.

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