SYRIAN REFUGEE REMAINS DETAINED FIVE MONTHS ON
AI-Index: EUR 25/5686/2017
A 21-year-old Syrian refugee has spent more than five months in police detention awaiting a decision on whether he will be forcibly returned from Greece to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. The decision on the return is expected at any time and in the interim he remains unlawfully detained on the island of Lesvos.
Noori (not his real name), a 21-year-old Syrian refugee, has been in detention since 9 September 2016 after his asylum application was declared inadmissible by the Appeals Committee on the grounds that Turkey is a “safe third country” for him. On 14 September, the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, temporarily halted his deportation until it decides whether or not to suspend the Appeals Committee’s decision. The hearing at the Council of State took place on 29 November but the decision is still pending. If the decision of the court, which could be handed down at any time, endorses the premise that Turkey is a “safe third country”, Noori will be at immediate risk of being returned to Turkey.
Noori has been in police custody awaiting the decision on his case for over five months, exceeding the maximum time that any asylum-seeker can be detained under Greek law (90 days). He is currently held in the Mytilene police station, on the Greek island of Lesvos. He shares a small cell with five to six people and sleeps on a mattress on the floor. Noori has contracted scabies as a result of the poor conditions. His lawyers have challenged the legality of Noori’s detention before local courts citing that it has exceeded the maximum length and that the Council of State temporarily halted his deportation. They also submitted a psychosocial assessment by an independent social worker which reported that Noori is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the aerial bombings in Syria and that his mental health is aggravated by the poor detention conditions and the uncertainty. Local courts ordered the continuation of Noori’s detention on the basis that he is a flight risk.
The EU-Turkey deal, which was signed on 18 March, paved the way for Greece to return asylum-seekers and refugees to Turkey. However, Turkey is not currently a safe country for refugees to be returned to. It does not offer full refugee status to non-Europeans. The vast majority of asylum-seekers and refugees do not have the means to support themselves and are not granted state support.
Noori explained to Amnesty International that in Syria he was studying to be a nurse but had to halt his education because of the war. He recently said: “I am looking for safety in Europe and to start my studies again”.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY IN GREEK, ENGLISH OR YOUR OWN LANGUAGE:
Urging the authorities to release Noori from his unlawful prolonged detention and to provide him with any medical care he might need and psychosocial support;
Calling on them to ensure that Noori is not returned to Turkey and to examine the substance of his asylum claim in Greece.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 MARCH 2017 TO:
PRIME MINISTER OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC
Prime Minister’s General Secretariat
15 Vasilisis Sofias Avenue
Fax: + 30 210 338 5432
Salutation: Your Excellency
CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE HELLENIC POLICE
P. Kanellopoulou 4
Fax: +30 210 697 7102
Salutation: Dear General
MINISTER FOR MIGRATION POLICY
Fax: +30 213 136 4418
Ambassade de Grèce
Case postale 72
3000 Berne 15
Fax: 031 368 12 72
A 21-year-old Syrian refugee has spent more than five months in police detention awaiting a decision on whether he will…ift.tt
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