France - Administrative Court of Appeal of Metz, 26 November 2019, N° RG 19/00909

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
26-11-2019
Citation:
(France) Administrative Court of Appeal of Metz, N° RG 19/00909, 26 November 2019
Court Name:
Administrative Court of Appeal of Metz
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Articles L 552-9 and R 552-12 Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law (CESEDA)
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Headnote: 

The administrative detention of an Afghan national was imposed on the basis of a procedural error due  to the lack of relevant documentation and unjustified information by the French authorities (Prefect and Prosecutor).

Facts: 

Following an identity check in France, an afghan national, was held in an administrative detention centre, for a maximum period of 48 hours.

The applicant was an asylum-seeker in Switzerland and was entering the French territory for a period not exceeding two days.

The French authorities submitted a request to the first instance judge (Judge of Freedoms and Detention), for an extension of the administrative detention for a time period of 28 days. The first instance tribunal rejected the request. As a consequence, the French authorities brought the decision in front of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Metz.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Firstly, the CA recalled that the first instance’s judge rejected the request for the extension of the detention by the french authorities, based on Article L. 554-1 of the Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law (CESEDA).  This decision relied on the fact that the applicant’s  administrative detention was a disproportionate measure in the light of his intention of staying no more than two days on the French territory.

Then, the Court of Appeal evaluated the appeal of the French authorities’, which was established on the fact that a procedural mistake was made by the first instance judge. The CA reviewed the argumentation of the French authorities on the omission from the first instance’s judge to report that the applicant had already sought asylum in Switzerland. Additionally, the French authorities reported that the applicant was sought by the Swiss police for suspicion of participating in terrorist activities. The French authorities added that the first instance judge denied the possibility of a refusal from the Swiss authorities to readmit the applicant on their territory, following a readmisison request that has been submitted under the Dublin Regulation.

Finally, the CA concluded that no documentation submitted within the appeal procedure was able to prove that the applicant was sought by the Swiss police for terrorist activities. Moreover, no arrest warrant was issued against him. Therefore, the applicant was benefiting from the presumption of innocence and the French authorities made a serious procedural mistake by requesting the extension of the applicant’s administrative detention.

The CA ordered the immediate release of the applicant and recalled the obligation to leave the French territory.

Outcome: 

Appeal denied.

Observations/Comments: 

The judgment put a light on the intrinsic judicial and administrative procedural issues that can threaten individual fundamental rights and cause unjustified administrative detention decisions.

This summary was drafted by Clémentine Le Roy, LLM student at the Gent University.