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Migration_Is_Not_A_Crime

The Republic of Cyprus has repeatedly been criticised in recent years  by a number of organisations, such as the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, human rights organisations, the most recent being Amnesty International (http://livewire.amnesty.org/2011/12/19/inside-Cyprus%E2%80%99-migrant-detention-centres/), on matters relating to detention and deportation of third-country nationals, especially concerning the duration of detention and the absence of effective judicial procedures for reviewing  administration decisions.

It was only a month ago that Cyprus adopted the legislation to comply with Directive 2008/115/ΕC concerning rules and regulations for returning irregularly staying third-country nationals. This was after the deadline allowed for member states to transpose the Directive and after the European Commission warned that it would take court action against the Republic of Cyprus.

Unfortunately, the attitude and behaviour of the Cyprus government, especially of the Ministry of Interior, shows that they have decided to continue the policy of illegal detention, a policy that is in contempt even of national and European court decisions.

KISA knows of three very recent cases (129, 132 & 133 of 2011), for which the Supreme Court judged that the detention of persons was illegal because of its long duration. However and despite the fact that the Court ordered their immediate release, the police proceeded to their arrest anew inside the Supreme Court on a decision of the Ministry of Interior.

In effect and before these persons walked out of the courtroom free, they were arrested again on new detention and deportation orders and were then led to police detention centres, where conditions have been described by international organisations such as the Council of Europe as inhuman and degrading.

In the summer of 2011, another third-country migrant, who could not be returned to his country for practical reasons known to the state, was re-arrested in the same way, immediately after the Court had ordered his release. He continues to be detained in a police detention centre of the otherwise law-abiding state of Cyprus for almost four years now, for an offence for which, according to international law and decisions of the European Court of Justice, no person can be deprived of his/her freedom even for one day.

This policy is illegal and violates both national law and Directive 2008/115/ΕC, as well as the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which clearly held that, irrespective of the legality or not of the stay of third-country nationals on their release, as long as the duration of detention is illegal, the third-country national must be released immediately. This policy can be considered only as contempt of the Supreme Court itself.

Once again, KISA calls on the state to reconsider its policy and review it with full respect to the rule of law. This policy can be characterised only as punitive and can no longer be tolerated in a law-abiding country which claims to respect human rights. It is an oxymoron for Cyprus to proclaim positive targets in its priorities during its EU Presidency for the adoption of a common immigration and asylum policy, when it itself blatantly violates the existing European legal framework and the rule of law.

KISA also calls on the European Commission to intervene decisively and take all necessary measures to ensure that the violations of Directive 2008/115/ΕC are ended immediately.

 

Human Rights