Greece - Supreme Court, 20 February 2015, 186/2015

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
20-02-2015
Citation:
Greece v M. A. [2015] SC 186/2015
Court Name:
Supreme Court
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Greece - Criminal Code article 21 (1)
Greece - Code of criminal procedure Articles 437-456
Greece - Constitution - Art.28
Greece - L.D. 3989/1959
Greece - P.D. 113/2013
Greece - P.D. 96/2008
Greece - Law 1782/1988
Greece - Law 1532/1985
Greece - L.D. 53/19-20.9.1974
Greece - Law 4165/1961
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Headnote: 

A Turkish National, who has been granted political asylum by the Swiss Government, was detained in Greece. After a decision made by the Greek authorities, his extradition to Turkey was ordered. This decision was quashed by the Greek Supreme Court. 

Facts: 

M. A. was sentenced by the Turkish authorities to life imprisonment on account of conspiracy and attempt to unlawfully change/alter the Turkish Constitution as part of a terrorist group. He was detained from 5-11-1992 until 16-07-2001, when he was released temporarily from the Turkish prisons because of his poor health due to the conditions of his imprisonment.

Following that, he escaped from Turkey and entered Switzerland, where he sought and was given political asylum. Despite the fact that this protection was still in force, M.A. was arrested and detained in Greece. Under the decision of the Court of first instance his extradition to Turkey was ordered. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

Under the decision of the court of first instance, M.A.'s extradition to Turkey was ordered, in order for him to serve the sentence of aggravated life imprisonment for his attempt to change the constitution in Turkey. The court of second instance took into account the above mentioned sentence, which was documented by the submission of the relevant documents. However, taking into account that the appellant was of Kurdish origin and had an intense political activity in Turkey since his student years, the Court accepted that this fact contributed to some extent to his arrest.

Apart from that, following the verbal confirmation of the Swiss embassy in Greece, it was confirmed that M.A. was an asylum beneficiary in Switzerland and holder of a travelling document, valid in all countries except for Turkey.

According to the above mentioned, the Court accepted that in case of refoulement of the appellant, there would be a well founded fear of persecution and threat of his physical integrity because of his beliefs.

Therefore, it considered that the court of first instance was mistaken regarding the estimation of evidence, quashed the first decision and ordered the removal of the temporary detention of the appellant. 

Outcome: 

The appeal was accepted. 

Observations/Comments: 

This case summary was written by Stefania Kokkosi and Maria Pilavaki, a student at BPP University.

Other sources cited: 

European Convention on Extradition, 13.12.1957, Article 3 (1) and (2).