Czech Republic - Prague Regional Court, 1 July 2015, A. K. A., S. K. K., A. E. and K. B. v Ministry of the Interior, 49Az 56/2015-41

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
01-06-2015
Court Name:
Prague Regional Court
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Headnote: 

The Prague Regional court quashed a Dublin transfer decision in respect of a family of four Yazidi adults to Bulgaria. Firstly, the court held that the Ministry of Interior had paid insufficient consideration to whether the Bulgarian asylum system ensures adequate health care for one of the Applicants, suffering from a psychological disorder. Secondly, the court found that the Applicants were not subject to personal interviews in the proceedings concerning their Dublin transfer, thus violating their right to a fair trial. 

Facts: 

The Applicants are a family of four Yezidi adults originating from Northern Iraq. The father had serious psychological problems and used medication. The Applicants applied for asylum both in Bulgaria and Hungary. With the aim of travelling to Germany the Applicants were later stopped whilst passing through the Czech Republic and placed in administrative detention.  The Ministry of Interior later issued a transfer decision to Bulgaria, where the applicants first claimed asylum. The Applicants had no personal interview during the proceedings relating to a Dublin transfer.

The Applicants appealed to the Prague Regional court (“the court”) against the Ministry of Interior’s decision. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The court concluded that the Ministry of Interior failed to satisfactorily consider the situation in Bulgaria in respect of the Applicant who suffered from psychological problems. Referring to theUNHCR report of April 2014, the court pointed out that there are reported problems with the identification of vulnerable persons in the Bulgarian asylum system. As one of the Applicants suffered from psychological problems, he was undoubtedly a vulnerable person. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior should have assessed whether the Bulgarian asylum system enables an adequate health and other necessary care for the Applicant to be secured suffering. In the absence of such assessment, the decision is insufficiently reasoned and thus unlawful.   

In a second line of reasoning, the court assessed the absence of personal interviews during the proceedings concerning the applicants Dublin transfer. The Ministry of Interior argued that the decision to transfer was based on police interrogations held with the Applicants after being detained. The court refused such an argument. It held that the police did not notify the Applicants that the police interrogations could be used as a personal interview in the proceedings about their Dublin transfers. The absence of personal interviews violated the right of the Applicants to a fair trial. It also prevented the Applicants from raising arguments against their transfer to Bulgaria in the first instance proceedings (before the Ministry of Interior). The court therefore quashed the decisions on account of serious procedural errors. 

Outcome: 

The Prague Regional Court quashed the decisions on Dublin transfer in respect of all the Applicants and remitted the case back to the Ministry of Interior. As the Ministry did not appeal, the judgment became final.

The Applicants are still in the detention centre awaiting the outcome of their case on asylum status. 

Observations/Comments: 

This case summary was provided by the OPU.  

Other sources cited: 

UNHCR, UNHCR observations on the current asylum system in Bulgaria, April 2014