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6th October 2016, 10:14:09 UTC

A Syrian refugee is at risk of being forcibly returned from Greece to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. His asylum application was dismissed on the grounds that Turkey is a “safe third country.” A decision on his appeal before Greek courts is expected within days. He is currently in police custody on the Greek island of Lesvos.


Noori (not his real name), a 21-year-old Syrian refugee, is at risk of forcible return to Turkey after his asylum application was declared inadmissible. His lawyers have petitioned Greek courts in order to annul this decision. Noori is currently in police custody on the Greek island of Lesvos.


On 14 September the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, issued an interim order halting his deportation until it decides whether or not to suspend the Appeals Committee’s decision allowing for Noori’s forcible return to Turkey. The decision is expected within days. If Noori is deported, he will be the first asylumseeker too be forcibly returned to Turkey since the EU-Turkey deal came into force in March.


Noori filed an asylum application before the Greek Asylum Service on 4 August, shortly after his arrival from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesvos. The EU-Turkey deal, which was signed on 18 March, paved the way for Greece to return asylum-seekers and refugees to Turkey. Noori’s application was declared inadmissible, both at first instance and on appeal, on the grounds that Turkey is a “safe third country” for him. However, Turkey is not currently a safe country for asylum-seekers and refugees to be returned to. It does not offer full refugee status to Syrian refugees. The vast majority of asylum-seekers and refugees do not have the means to support themselves and are not granted state support. As a result many refugees are destitute and living in appalling conditions.


There are also grave concerns about the treatment of those returned to Turkey, particularly as independent monitors do not have access to the closed centres to which deportees are being returned. Please write immediately to Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Alexis Tsipras.

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