Who we are

To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck and other international human rights lawyers to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights declarations and national constitutions, through legal means.

Together with those affected and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity for those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.


Torture in Guantánamo: ECCHR demands Mohamedou Ould Slahi is granted a visa without delay

On the occasion of the Berlinale film festival and following a lawsuit filed against the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of April 2021, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights calls for Mohamedou Ould Slahi to quickly be granted a German visa.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi coproduced the Berlinale’s opening film “The Mauritanian” about his detention in the US prison camp Guantánamo. After more than 14 years of unlawful detention and torture, and his subsequent release to Mauritania, Mohamedou wants to live in Germany. His wife, two-year-old son and brother live here. They must no longer be denied the right to family.

ECCHR, which represents Mohamedou Ould Slahi together with partner lawyer Matthias Lehnert, calls on the authorities to speed up the procedure for issuing his visa and to conclude it swiftly.

In 2019, Mohamedou’s application for a visitor visa was rejected due to a previous conviction for a minor offense and entry ban from 2000, which should have long been irrelevant. In September 2020, Mohamedou Ould Slahi applied for a family reunion visa. The responsible immigration authorities are delaying this procedure, continuing to refer the 2000 entry ban and possible security concerns. A separate visa application to enter Germany to attend the Berlinale film festival has not been submitted. It is expected that this would be blocked for the same reasons.

“The German authorities have not been able to provide even the slightest evidence or argument as to why our client would pose a threat. A security check should take place, as in any visa procedure – but this must not be delayed any further,“ says Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary, ECCHR.

The United States spent 14 years investigating substantiate allegations against Mohamedou Ould Slahi, for which he was taken to Guantánamo and detained there. In 2016, a US review panel composed of key security agencies unanimously dropped his case for lack of evidence. It held that Mohamedou posed no threat to the US or its allies, including Germany.

Press Contact

Maria Bause
T: +49 30 69819797

Michelle Trimborn
T: +49 30 40109454

M: presse@ecchr.eu