Greece: Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal Suspends Dublin III Transfer to Bulgaria

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

On 15 May 2019, the Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal issued an interim ordersuspending the transfer to Bulgaria under Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin III) of an Afghan couple and their three minor children.

The applicants applied for asylum in Greece on 19 October 2017 at the Piraeus Regional Asylum Office. After a EURODAC hit indicated that the applicants had previously applied for asylum in Bulgaria, their applications were found to be inadmissible and their transfer under Article 29 (1) Dublin III was ordered.

The applicants appealed this decision to the Independent Appeals Authority and submitted that there were no assurances that Dublin returnees have access to asylum procedures in Bulgaria and that the reception conditions in the country amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. The Independent Appeals Authority held that updated reports on the asylum system in Bulgaria indicated that there were no systemic deficiencies in asylum procedures and the reception conditions did not indicate a potential risk of inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The applicants sought to annul this decision before the Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal and requested an interim measure to suspend their transfer. The applicants re-submitted their claim that reception conditions in Bulgaria were tantamount to inhuman and degrading treatment and, citing the 99% rejection rate for applicants of asylum from Afghanistan in Bulgaria, they claimed that they would likely be returned to Afghanistan if they were transferred.

In assessing the case, the Court held that the applicants’ fear of refoulement to Afghanistan was well founded and concluded that such transfer would constitute irreparable harm, justifying interim protection. The Court therefore issued an interim order to suspend the transfer.

Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team. Thank you to Stavros Papageorgopoulos, Legal Officer at ECRE, for his assistance in summarizing this case.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. 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.



Dublin Transfer
Indirect refoulement
Reception conditions