First Deportation Following Asylum Rejection in Lesvos

The first deportation of a Syrian citizen is going to be carried out on Thursday in Lesvos, after the final rejection of his asylum petition. The asylum request was rejected on the second, and final degree, while the petitioner has not been called for a vis-a-vis hearing

His petition was rejected as unacceptable on two consecutive levels of examination. At this moment his deportation from Greece is being prepared since Turkey has been deemed to be an equally safe country for him. 

In the past days, there have been several occasions where secondary degree committees have overturned the first degree decisions and rejected several asylum petitions. Since 20.3.2016, the migrants who enter European soil are deemed as illegal immigrants, arrested and held. If they don't place an asylum request or in case they do and their petition is rejected, they are deported to Turkey.

The asylum committee rejected the 46 year old Syrian migrant’s request after deciding that his claims that he is a homosexual, and that he has been threatened by ISIS members were not credible. At the same time the decision considers Turkey to be a safe relocation destination.

The Syrian man was called via the PA system of the concentration camp in Moria and was led to the police offices by three men in civilian attire and an interpreter.

The committee decision was announced to him there. It is reported that an employee of the Asylum Service offered his support by telling him that he has 60 more days should he file an appeal. He was not told, however, that his appeal would not necessarily delay his deportation. The man would have had to initiate urgent procedures in order to have some hope of upturning the decision.
This did not happen as, according to TPP information, his cell phone was taken away from him and he was transferred to enclosed cell without access to a landline as well. He was unable to obtain timely legal help and his lawyer was only able to see him on Thursday, a day after the decision was officially made.
The Homosexuality Claim

The Syrian claimed to be homosexual yet this argument to grant him asylum was also rejected by the committee. According to the Syrian’s representatives, the EASO employee asked him which were the colors of the Rainbow flag and whether he knew any famous Syrian homosexual. He answered that he was not active in the homosexual community of Syria and knew no such information as he was forced to hide his own sexual preferences. Accordingly, his claim, that he was homosexual was rejected.
It should be noted that had his claim been accepted, his deportation to Turkey would have been considered to be unsafe. Legal circles raise several issues regarding the whole procedure since, according to the prevailing legal status, when an individual states that he or she is a homosexual, there is no legally acceptable way to ascertain or reject his claim; any attempt would be an abuse of his or her human rights and, therefore, it should be immediately accepted.

The ISIS Threat Claim

The second conclusion of the committee was that the refugee had sufficient ties to Turkey, which should make him feel safe at that country. The decision was based on the fact that the Syrian man had spent the last two years in Turkey in voluntary labor and was voluntarily relocated.

The man was employed in a multinational company which was operating in several different countries. His latest job was in Nigeria. Due to the fact that Nigeria is not considered to be a safe country, he was asked to propose a country where he could visit for 4 weeks alternating with four weeks of stay in Nigeria. At that time, the Syrian refugee had suggested Istanbul and had been issued with a document that entitled him to visit Turkey often. Based on the existence of that document, the committee decided that the refugee had sufficient ties to Turkey in order to be safe and to live securely there.

The petitioner stated that, on the 26 of March, before his passage to Greece, he received a visit, in Instanbul, by two people. When the trouble in Syria started, the multinational company that had been employing him left the country but had left all the equipment behind. ISIS had gotten the equipment yet it lacked the necessary skilled staff in order to operate it. The Syrian and other colleagues of his were in a list of people that ISIS was searching for in order to make them return to Syria and operate the equipment on ISIS’s behalf.

According to the refugee, during the visit he suffered no direct violence or threats. When he refused to move to Syria and work for ISIS he understood that the two men were not planning to stay polite for much longer. Thus he managed to escape Instanbul and to go to Smyrna, and, through a trafficker, to Greece.

Concerning the status of ISIS in Turkey, the man stated that he would never be able to feel secure there. The committee considered that there had been no violence or threat towards the man since the discussion had not come to a conclusion after he left the room. He was also asked why he had not informed the Turkish authorities of the visit.

Overturn or Deportation

The refugee side will aim to overturn the decision and it has already filed a petition for urgent measures with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg in order to put a stop to the deportation procedure. The petition mentions the international responsibility of Greece towards human rights. In the next few days, it will be decided whether the Syrian refugee will be deported or not.

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