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31st March 2017, 10:14:09 UTC

Noori, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee, continues to be unlawfully detained in a police station on the Greek island of Lesvos. He has been in detention since 9 September and is waiting to find out whether he will be forcibly returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. The uncertainty he has been facing for months and the poor detention conditions are having a negative impact on his wellbeing.

Noori has been in detention for almost seven months on the Greek island of Lesvos, waiting to find out whether he will be forcibly returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. His prolonged detention exceeds the maximum time that any asylum-seeker can be detained under Greek law (90 days). Poor detention conditions and the prolonged uncertainty about his future are having a very negative impact on his physical and mental health.

Noori’s distress about his fate and prolonged detention was visible when Amnesty International met him. He said: “I sleep on a mattress on the floor in a cell with five other people….I have nothing to read in my language. I have not been given a clean blanket since my arrest….”

Noori was detained after his asylum application was declared inadmissible by an Appeals Committee on the grounds that Turkey is a “safe third country”. On 14 September 2016, the Council of State temporarily halted his deportation until it decides whether or not to quash the decision. On 10 March, the Plenary of the court heard Noori’s application challenging the decision. It is unclear when the Council of State will issue its judgment. If the court rejects Noori’s application he will be at immediate risk of return to Turkey.

The EU-Turkey deal, signed on 18 March 2016, paved the way for Greece to return asylum-seekers and refugees to Turkey. However, Turkey is not a safe country for refugees to be returned to. It does not offer full refugee status to non-Europeans. The vast majority of asylum-seekers and refugees do not have the means to support themselves and are not granted state support.

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