Greece: Administrative Court of Mytilene rules unlawful the detention of Syrian asylum seekers in 3 different cases

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Administrative Court of Mytilene has delivered three rulings upholding Syrian asylum seekers’ objections against detention.

In case no. 218/2017, the applicant had been referred to the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) of Lesvos on 11 October 2017 and applied for asylum on the following day. On 13 October, he was issued a detention order by the Lesvos Police Director with a view to his removal to Turkey, based on the existence of a risk of absconding. The Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos recommended on 19 October 2017 the prolongation of his detention on the ground that his asylum application was made in order to delay or frustrate the return procedure. Two days later, the Lesvos Police Director issued a new detention order.

The court held that the applicant’s detention on the alleged ground was insufficiently motivated, as the detention order provided no objective criteria leading to the conclusion that his asylum claim had the sole purpose of delaying or frustrating return proceedings. In that light, the applicant was unlawfully detained. The Administrative Court of Mytilene reached a similar conclusion in case 219/2017 concerning an applicant detained on the same grounds.

Case 217/2017 concerned a Syrian national who applied for asylum on 12 October 2017 after being referred to the RIC of Lesvos. The Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos recommended the prolongation of his detention for the purpose of verifying his identity or nationality. On 19 October 2017, the Lesvos Police Director issued a new detention order stating the existence of a risk of absconding of the applicant due to a lack of travel documents or other documents certifying his identity. However, the applicant held a Syrian passport which had been surrendered to the authorities in the pre-removal detention centre of Lesvos on 11 October 2017 and the authenticity of which had not been doubted. The court therefore deemed the detention order unlawful.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The EWLU would like to thank Minos Mouzourakis, Senior AIDA Coordinator at ECRE, for his kind assistance with translating this case and Danai Papachristopoulou, from HIAS Greece, for bringing these cases to our attention.


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.