Greece - Council of State, 31 December 2007, M.N. v Minister for Public Order, Application No. 1423/2007

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
31-12-2007
Citation:
Application No. 1423/2007
Court Name:
Council of State, Chamber D
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Greece - Αρθρο 52 Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 18/1989 (Art 52 of Presidential Decree 18/1989)
Greece - Άρθρο 35 Ν. 2721/1999 Α’ 112 (Art 35 of Act 2721/1999 A112)
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 61/1999
Greece - Σύμβαση της Γενεύης 1951 Νομοθετικό Διάταγμα 3989/1959 (Geneva Convention 1951 Legislative Decree)
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Headnote: 

The Court held that the conditions for offering the Applicants temporary judicial protection had been satisfied, taking into consideration that the Asylum Committee had rejected the asylum-seeker's claims as being unsubstantiated without assessing his credibility, and also because the decision which rejected the application for asylum only vaguely referred to the prevailing situation in Iran.

Facts: 

This petition sought to give suspensive effect to decision 95/56362/10.11.2006 by the Minister for Public Order (not by the Ministry's General Secretary, as erroneously recorded in the petition's court file) which was a final rejection of the 13.4.2006 application for political asylum which was submitted by the Applicant, who declared himself to be an Iranian citizen. A petition for annulment had also been filed against the same ministerial decision, and had been set for hearing on 10.2.2009. The Applicant claimed that the regime in his country had considered his scientific discoveries to be contrary to or a threat to Islam, and this resulted in him being imprisoned and subjected to psychological torture. The contested decision, issued pursuant to the unanimous negative opinion given by the Asylum Committee on 18.10.2006, held that the Applicant's “unsubstantiated” claims about “fear of persecution because of scientific discoveries which were a threat to the theocratic regime in Iran, in conjunction with the prevailing situation in his country of origin” do not provide legitimate evidence of grounds to grant him the protected status of the 28.7.1951 Convention. That same decision, moreover, gave the Applicant a deadline of three months to voluntarily move to another country of his own choice.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Suspension Committee of the Council of State took into consideration the fact that the Applicant's claims had been rejected as “unsubstantiated” without any justification concerning his lack of credibility; and also that the contested ministerial decision made only a vague reference to the prevailing situation in Iran. The Suspension Committee held that there were legal grounds to accept his petition so as to avoid harming the Applicant in a way which would be difficult to rectify later should his application for annulment be successful. That harm would result from, in particular, his forced return to Iran and consequent exposure to threats to his safety and freedom.

Therefore, the C.o.S. held that until it has issued its final decision concerning the pending petition for annulment, a) the contested ministerial decision must be suspended insofar as it gave the Applicant a deadline for leaving Greece, b) the Administration must be ordered to refrain from any action based exclusively on the contested decree which would result in the Applicant's forced departure from Greece, and c) any foreigner's asylum-seeker card which may have been withdrawn from the Applicant must be returned to him, with its validity extended if appropriate, so as to fully restore the situation the said foreigner would have been in before the rejection of his application for recognition of refugee status.

Outcome: 

The C.o.S. accepted the petition; it suspended the contested ministerial decision, as referred to in the reasonings, until the C.o.S. issued a final decision on the pending application for annulment; it ordered additional measures as referred to in the reasonings; it required the State to pay the Applicant's court costs; and it ordered the fee to be returned.

Observations/Comments: 

Suspension Committee of the Council of State, Athens

Court composed of: M. Vrontakis, Vice-president, President of Chamber D;

D. Gratsias, Councillor;

I. Mazos, Associate Councillor.

The Clerk was A. Triadi, Clerk of Chamber D.

See also: http://www.dsanet.gr/1024x768Auth.htm