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Syrian torture victim detained after asylum claim hits roadblock

Syrian torture victim detained after asylum claim hits roadblock

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Syrian torture victim detained after asylum claim hits roadblock


A suicidal Syrian torture victim, who claims he fled to Jersey for his own safety, has been placed behind bars as an "illegal immigrant" after a last-ditch attempt to claim asylum was rejected.

The man – who cannot be named to protect his identity – was born in Syria and lived most of his life there, before he was forced to escape to mainland Europe some years ago after being captured and suffering “very serious persecution and torture" in his homeland.

He then fled the European country where he had attempted to claim asylum after suffering further persecution there, and arrived in Jersey where he made another asylum claim.

Advocate Sarah Dale - who was representing the man at the time - explained that he chose to come to Jersey as the ‘Dublin Regulation,’ a piece of legislation determining where refugee claims should be decided, does not apply on the island. Upon his arrival, he went straight to the police station, telling officers that he was there to claim asylum.

Customs and Immigration

Pictured: The Customs and Immigration Service wants the man to be sent back to the European Country where he first made his claim.

The Customs and Immigration Service rejected the claim on the basis that he had made a similar claim in a European country already. Customs wanted to send the man back to that country, instead of allowing him to stay in Jersey.

This led Advocate Dale to hit out at the island’s approach to dealing with asylum claims, involving an alleged “failure” to consider his human rights and an interview in which he was treated like a criminal.

The time to make a fresh decision based on the man's psychological state.

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Pictured: The case has seen many hearings in the Royal Court.

A clinical psychologist wrote that the man had “clinical levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and major depression", as well as “severe psychological distress which triggers chronic suicidal thoughts.”

In November 2018, the case returned to Court and the Customs and Immigration Department said they would not review their rejection. The Court heard at that time that the man had attempted suicide several times, over fears of being sent back to the UK.

The following month, the Deputy Bailiff granted the man permission to apply for judicial review, adding that there was “arguable ground” that it could be successful on the basis of the human rights alone.

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Pictured: The Deputy Bailiff refused the application for a judicial review.

That culminated in the man bringing an application before the Royal Court last week, which was then refused by the Deputy Bailiff. His full judgment has yet to be published.

Representing the Home Affairs Minister, Advocate Steven Meiklejohn agreed that the order to send the man back to Europe should remain on hold until the outcome of any potential appeal, or until the period for appeal expires. 

Advocate Lauren Glynn - the man's new legal representative - asked for the man, who had remained free until the day of the hearing, to not be detained, but the Deputy Bailiff said he couldn't make an order on the processes of Customs. 

The Customs and Immigration Department eventually decided to detain the man as an illegal immigrant.

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