Muhammad v. Spain (Application no. 34085/17)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


100.  The applicant’s complaint was also accompanied by reports aimed at proving that racially motivated identity checks were a pervasive practice of the Spanish police forces. As the Court has already held, statistics need to appear to be reliable and significant on critical examination in order to be considered sufficient to constitute the prima facie evidence the applicant is required to produce (see D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic, cited above, § 188). It is true that a number of organisations, including intergovernmental bodies, have expressed concern regarding the occurrence of racially motivated police identity checks (see paragraphs 61-62 and 88-90 above). However, the Court cannot lose sight of the fact that its sole concern in the case at hand is to ascertain whether the fact that the applicant was required to identify himself on the street was motivated by racism. As was also mentioned by the central administrative court, the issue at stake is limited to finding out whether the applicant suffered harm which he was not obliged to suffer, caused by the normal or abnormal functioning of the public authorities (in this instance, the police), and in that case, to award him compensation (see paragraph 31 above). 

101.  The domestic judicial authorities also noted that the same facts had been assessed by a criminal court in criminal proceedings which were discontinued for lack of evidence of a racially motivated offence. The Court notes that the Spanish legal framework does include measures against discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity (including rules for the reversal of the burden of the proof) and administrative and criminal sanctions for acts that constitute or promote racism. However, in the framework of administrative proceedings, neither the alleged harm suffered by the applicant nor the existence of a causal link with the functioning of the police forces could be established. 

102.  In sum, having assessed all the relevant elements, the Court does not consider that it has been established that racist attitudes played a role in the applicant’s identity check by the police and his arrest in that context. 

103.  It thus finds that there has been no violation of Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention in this respect. 


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