In January, police detained five undocumented Afghans in Ústí nad Orlicí and sent them to a refugee center for 90 days, but the Czech Supreme Administrative Court overturned the move by the police. Now, two of the migrants are seeking financial compensation, demanding the Ministry of the Interior to pay them 180,000 korunas (€6,785) each for non-pecuniary losses.
The request for compensation for placing the migrants in a refugee center was submitted by the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), which represents both men. The OPU is funded by the Open Society Foundation Prague, the United Nations, European Union funds, and a variety of other organizations.
Foreign police detained the five young Afghans at a bus stop in Ústí nad Orlicí on Jan. 13. They had no documents with them and claimed to be 17 years old. They said that they spent a year and a half on the way from Afghanistan through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Northern Macedonia, and Serbia, from where they took a freight train to the Czech Republic.
“I do not want my application for asylum to be assessed by the Czech Republic, my destination is Germany. I asked to be released as soon as possible to get to Germany,” said one of the refugees during the interrogation.
This case may end up with the Czech state paying the refugees as the Supreme Administrative Court questioned the decision of the police on the detention of the migrants.
The police sent the men to a facility for foreigners, but they also immediately had their age verified. X-rays showed that they were significantly older than they claimed, according to Czech news portal Idnes.cz.
The Organization for Aid to Refugees questioned the results of the tests and sued the police for transferring the foreigners to a facility for adults.
The branch of the regional court, which dealt with the case, stood up for the decision of the police in all five cases in February this year.
“According to the results of the X-ray performed on the left wrist and distal forearm, he is an adult at least 27 years old,” said Aleš Korejtko, a judge of the regional court, about one of the refugees.
But the dispute continued, and the organization filed a cessation complaint and was successful in all five cases. The Supreme Administrative Court annulled the detention decisions of the police and the verdicts of the regional court.
Although the police quickly checked the actual age of the detained men, they also decided to detain them for 90 days. That, according to the Supreme Administrative Court, was a mistake.
According to the judges, the detention of youth foreigners, or those who claim to be minors, has to be temporary until the doubts about their age are confirmed or dispelled. That has to correspond to the detention period set by the police, which should be only days-long.
Thus, according to the Supreme Administrative Court, after obtaining the results of the X-rays after 12 days, the police should have issued a new decision on detention.
According to a representative of the Organization for Aid to Refugees, the Afghans probably left the Czech Republic after being released from the refugee facility and resumed their journey to Germany. However, the organization lost touch with them.
So far, the Ministry of the Interior has not yet issued a decision on financial compensation.
Title image: Afghans who were deported from Germany arrive at Kabul International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. A Kabul airport official says 34 Afghan asylum seekers returned home after being deported from Germany the previous day. (AP Photos/Massoud Hossaini)