Ladele and McFarlane v. United Kingdom (nos. 51671/10 and 36516/10) – Communicated 2 May 2011. The applicants are British nationals, Christians, who consider that same-sex marriage (Ms Ladele) and homosexual activity (Mr McFarlane) are contrary to God’s law or sinful. As a Registrar, Ms Ladele refused to conduct same-sex civil marriage ceremonies or to register such ceremonies. She was informed that she was required to perform such services, on pain of termination. As a counselor, Mr McFarlane refused to give an unequivocal commitment to counsel same-sex couples, and he was dismissed from his employment. The applicants complain that domestic law failed adequately to protect their right to manifest their religion, contrary to Article 9 of the Convention, taken alone and in conjunction with Article 14. The first applicant further complains of lack of effective remedy (Article 13), while the second applicant complains of lack of a fair trial (Article 6) and violation of right to respect for private life (Article 8).
Eweida and Chaplin v. United Kingdom (nos. 48420/10 and 59842/10) – Communicated 2 May 2011. The applicants are British nationals, Christians who complained of employment discrimination arising from their desires to manifest their religious beliefs by wearing visible symbols of their beliefs, a silver cross (Ms Eweida) and a crucifix (Ms Chaplin) in the workplace. The applicants assert that domestic law failed adequately to protect their right to manifest their religion, contrary to Article 9 of the Convention, taken alone or in conjunction with Article 14.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United Kingdom (no. 7552/09) – Communicated 26 April 2011. The applicant religious organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, complains under ECHR Article 9, alone and in conjunction with Article 14, of discrimination in regards to failure to receive statutory tax exemption for one of its places of worship, the Preston Temple in Lancashire, Northern England. The exemption has been denied because the Temple is open for worship only to worthy members of the Church and not to the general public. The applicant further complains under Article 1 of Protocol 1 alone and connection with Article 14 that denial of the statutory exemption is disproportionate discrimination on the grounds of religion. Finally, the applicant complains under Article 13 of failure by the British House of Lords to adequately apply the Convention.
Ibragimov and Cultural Educational Fund “Nuru-Badi” v. Russia (no. 1413/08) – Communicated 4 April 2011. Mr. Ibragim Salekh ogly Ibragimov is a Russian national, the executive director of the registered NGO Cultural Educational Fund “Nuru-Badi,” which publishes a body of commentary on the Qur’an written by a Muslim Turkish scholar. In April 2006 the prosecutor of the Tartarstan Republic applied to a court asking that some of the books from the collection be declared extremist and be banned, offering expert opinions of psychologists who found that the texts “attempted to subconsciously influence the psyche of the reader,” inducing irrational values and opinions, depriving the reader of capability to think critically and to choose freely his religion. The texts allegedly further incited readers to look at non-believers with disdain, aversion, anger, hatred, and enmity, promoting discord. Muslims guilty of apostasy from Islam “were even denied the right to life.”
Alternative experts in theology said the books exposed the foundations of the Islamic doctrine and commented upon the Qur’an and did not contain extremist statements and did not call for violence or ethnic or religious enmity. The moral condemnation of sinners and non-believers in the texts, rather, is characteristic of all religious texts. In fact, said these experts, the author promoted peaceful coexistence of religions and dialogue between them. In the opinion of these experts, “the prosecutor’s experts were incompetent in religious matters and did not have even basic knowledge of Islam. The reproaches made by them … could have been made against any theological treatise.”
The applicants complain under Article 6 of unfair judicial proceedings and under Articles 9 (freedom of religion) and 10 (freedom of expression) about the ban on distributing the books, which are used for religious and educational purposes in mosques and medreses. The applicants also refer to Article 14 (discrimination). In its communication to the Russian government, the Court asks whether the interference with the applicants’ rights was prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society.
Valiullin and The Association of Mosques of Russia v. Russia (no. 30112/08) – Communicated 4 April 2011. The applicants, a Muslim teacher and lawyer, and a Muslim religious organization, complain before the Court that the banning of certain books and other publications by the Buguruslan Town Court of the Orenburg Region violates their freedom of religion and their right to receive and impart information. The applicants complain further of violations of Articles 6 and 13 in the way their case was handled by Russian authorities.
Ali v. Romania (no. 30595/09) – Communicated 4 April 2011. A Muslim prisoner in Romania protests court proceedings and prison conditions, including the fact that he was forced in a prison transfer to leave behind his Koran and his prayer mat. He alleges, invoking Article 9, that his freedom of religion is infringed because there are no special places in the prison in which he resides where he can effectively observe his Muslim rituals and pray.
Al-Kamisi v. Sweden (no. 49431/10) – Communicated 28 March 2011. The applicant, Ms Wejdan Haris Dihrab Al-Kamisi, is an Iraqi national of Christian Mandean denomination (Alsabaa Almandaae). She has one son, born in 1998. In 1999 she divorced her husband, who moved to the United States, while she lived with her son in Iraq. After receiving threatening letters and phone calls from unknown persons saying she would have to get married or leave the neighborhood, the applicant travelled with her son to Jordan. She left her son with relatives there while she travelled to Sweden. Her former husband came to Jordan and took the son back to the United States. Her appeal for asylum in Sweden was based upon fears of being subjected to forced conversion and forced marriage if she returned to Iraq. In rejecting her appeal, the Migration Court “stated that it had taken into account the difficult situation for Mandeans in Iraq. However, the situation with numerous cases of forced marriage conversion or forced marriage had been connected to the general security situation in Iraq. During the two years that had passed since the applicant left, the situation had improved. What the applicant had submitted about being disclaimed by her family did not constitute grounds for asylum.” In August 2010 the applicant was taken into custody awaiting enforcement of an expulsion order. The applicant claims under Article 3 that she would be subjected to ill-treatment through persecution, assault, rape, forced conversion and forced marriage if she were to return to Iraq.