The application of the readmission agreement between Italy and Slovenia was invalid. This was confirmed by the Roman Court, which accepted an appeal from a Pakistani national who had arrived in Trieste via the Balkan route and was then pushed back to Slovenia and then Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On January 18, the Roman Court granted the appeal of a Pakistani national who had arrived in Trieste along the Balkan route and, despite declaring his intention to apply for asylum, had been pushed back to Slovenia and then to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“That the order was issued last January 18th by the Roman Court, “explained one of the appellants, attorney ASGI Anna Brambilla,” is of great importance, as it acknowledges the invalidity of the application. Readmission agreement between Italy and Slovenia to those who have expressed their intention to request international protection, and the illegality of refoulement due to a failure to assess the risk of undergoing inhuman and degrading treatment in the pressures of the next chain “.
Bilateral agreements dating back to 1996, which have never been ratified by the Italian parliament, have been used with increasing frequency since 2018 by Italian authorities to “officially accept back” migrants arriving on Italian territory from the Slovenian border: 1,301 in 2019 alone, as stated by the Minister of Home Affairs Lamorgese 13 January during question time in the Chamber of Deputies, in response to two questions relating to re-admission to the Italian-Slovene border.
Technically defined by the Treaty as “acceptance of return without formalities”, this is actually an illegal denial that has been denounced by various Italian organizations and deputies for some time. And thanks to a network of associations in human rights defense, the case reached the Roman Court, with an appeal filed by ASGI lawyers Caterina Bove and Anna Brambilla – the result of an extensive network and brutal history.
M. was born in August 1993 in Pakistan. She left her country where she suffered persecution because of her sexual orientation. After a long journey and through the Balkan route he arrived in Trieste in mid-July 2020 with other compatriots. There, as the text of the order reports, a new ordeal: “All intend to ask for international protection. While some volunteers are helping them and treating their wounds, they have been approached by several people in civilian clothes, who present themselves as policemen and ask questions. about their migration path ”.
All expressed their willingness to seek asylum in Italy. Transported to the police station, they were told to sign documents in Italian, but instead of being taken to a reception center, they saw their rights violated again: “Their phones were confiscated and handcuffed”, reported the text, “then loaded into a van and taken to the area. hills (apparently on the Slovenian border) and they were ordered, under threat of the stick, to run straight ahead, on a count of 5 “.
After about a kilometer, they were stopped by Slovenian police, who took them to the police station, where they repeatedly expressed their desire to seek international protection. Instead, according to the Order, after spending the night locked in a room, without food, water and toilet, they were transported to a police station near the border with Croatia: “(…) they were made to lie on the ground and handcuffed with plastic straps around behind their backs, was searched, kicked and beaten with batons. They were then ordered to cross the border and be taken over by the Croatian police ”.
In Their Croatia experienced further violence. “Beaten by officers with sticks wrapped in barbed wire and kicked in the back”, wrote Judge Silvia Albano, “loaded into a van, when they arrived at their destination reaffirmed their desire to seek asylum, but were taken to the border with Bosnia. where the agents start counting down, then start hitting them and sprinkling pepper spray on them, inciting their German shepherd dog ”.
While in Bosnia, Adnan was brought to Lipa, a tent city 30 kilometers from the town of Bihać. However, with no place for him, he was left in the open countryside. He then reached Sarajevo where, due to lack of accommodation in the relief camp, he still lived in a “squat” (an abandoned building).
From Sarajevo to the Roman Court
Adnan’s case reporting, as attorney Anna Brambilla put it, came from the work of gathering photographic testimony and documentation from Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) as well as from interviews with Adnan conducted by Danish journalist Martin Gøttske and published in magazines Information. “But also”, Brambilla told us, “in general during this period we have received some reports that have come directly from people who were taken back, who have been contacted thanks to word of mouth”.
The decision to appeal in this case was based on two factors: “The fact that he has the possibility to get his original passport back, and therefore the possibility to sign the so-called power of attorney before a Bosnian notary to act on his behalf, is necessary to initiate. appeal. And the power of attorney was also collected thanks to lawyer Mohamed Kučak “, said Brambilla,” and I want to mention it because I believe it is very important to give credit to all the connections that have been made possible to achieve this result “.
The documents were submitted with extensive documentation derived from reports, complaints and testimony from BVMN as well as Amnesty International, Unhcr, the Danish Refugee Council, MSF and Rivolti ai Balcani, along with inquiries from newspapers such as The Guardian, New York Times and Future . “Along with the photos,” added lawyer Anna Brambilla, “the wounds from the beating with a stick wrapped in barbed wire, were suffered before being brought back to Bosnia. In addition, the scars are still visible today”.
Judge Silvia Albano was asked by lawyers for Brambilla and Bove to acknowledge Italy’s responsibility not only for readmission from Italy to Slovenia, but also for serial re-admissions to Bosnia and Herzegovina, because “the Italian authorities ‘know very well’ that once people are admitted back to Slovenia they were not allowed to access procedures in Slovenia, but were readmitted to Croatia and then to Bosnia after undergoing inhuman and degrading treatment “.
The order issued by Judge Silvia Albano in response to the urgent precautionary procedure between the Pakistani applicant M. and the Ministry of Home Affairs was clear. As explained by Gianfranco Schiavone from ICS Trieste and ASGI member: “First of all, it explains that this young man, like hundreds of others, has been prevented from applying for asylum. This can never be prevented: this is a fundamental right, guaranteed by our Constitution on Article 10 as well as by international and European protection laws. Only then will the procedure determine whether the application for asylum should be processed, for example in another country, therefore also in Croatia or Slovenia, but where the person is an asylum seeker ”. From the moment the wish to request international protection was expressed, the procedures provided by Dublin Regulation III must be applied.
The order also stipulates: “(Re-filing) can never be applied to asylum seekers without even submitting an application – the practice violates internal and supranational law and the content of the bilateral agreement with Slovenia”. In addition, “forced escort affects the legal sphere of the interested party, therefore it must be ordered by a reasonable administrative measure which can be challenged before the judicial authorities”. Therefore, the right to appeal applies together with “the need for individual examination of the position of individuals in accordance with Article 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which prohibits collective expulsion”.
“Another important point,” added lawyer Brambilla, “relates to the treatment suffered by the young man. The order specifies violations Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights , which prohibits torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment. ”Judge Albano underlined here the responsibility of the Italian authorities, that by rejecting a Pakistani citizen puts him at risk:“ The Italian state should not yield to illegal denial. The ministry is in a position to know – based on NGO reports, the resolution of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and reports from the most important international press organs – that admission back to Slovenia will in turn lead to refoulement. in Bosnia and that migrants will be subjected to inhuman treatment “.
“Therefore the judge ordered that M.”, concluded Anna Brambilla, “have the right to apply for international protection in Italy, and order the competent administration to adopt every act and act, including entry visas to our country”.
+ European representative Riccardo Magi, who was the first to raise a question to the Italian parliament, stated: “With regard to the refusal made by the Ministry of the Interior, I am asking for an explanation via parliamentary question last July , inquire about the procedures being followed by the Italian authorities. In its response, the ministry acknowledged to parliament that it was practicing ‘unofficial re-admission’, but later stated that it would not reject anyone seeking refuge; the sentence emphatically denies it “.
Now the Magi, voicing requests from all the organizations that have fought to denounce the abuses, are asking that “this inhuman practice be stopped immediately and made clear for the future that it will no longer be used”.