‘Suicidal’ Syrian refugee loses deportation battle
A SYRIAN man who landed on Jersey’s north coast in a dinghy is behind bars and facing ‘imminent’ removal from the Island following a Royal Court decision.
The man had argued that he had received death threats from ISIS cells in Europe and the Middle East and has threatened to kill himself if he is returned to the European state where he has already been granted asylum.
But lawyers representing the Home Affairs Minister and Customs and Immigration argued that granting the man asylum in Jersey would amount to successful ‘emotional blackmail’ and ‘open the floodgates’ to Jersey for asylum seekers.
The Royal Court has now decided to reject the Syrian man’s appeal for a judicial review of his case, meaning his claim for asylum in Britain will not be heard.
A spokeswoman for the Customs and Immigration Service said it was now working to send the man back to the European country that had granted him asylum.
‘The Jersey Customs and Immigration Service recognises the decision of the Royal Court not to allow full consideration of an asylum claim. JCIS is working closely with the appropriate European authorities in order to ensure the safe return of the person concerned,’ the spokeswoman said.
She added that exactly when and how the man was due to be returned to Europe would not be disclosed for security reasons.
Certain details of the case, including the identity of the European state and the name of the man involved, cannot be reported for legal reasons.
During previous hearings it was heard that the man claimed his life had been threatened by terror group ISIS in Syria and in Europe.
It was heard he had been attacked on numerous occasions in Europe because of his religion and once found a knife stuck in the side of his fridge together with a note purporting to be from ISIS.
And during the last hearing in May, Advocate Lauren Glynn, representing the Syrian man, argued that sending her client back to the European state he had come from would put his life at risk, as the impact on his mental health would be so severe he would be at risk of suicide.
The court was told in November that the man had already attempted suicide three times since arriving in Jersey in August, either after being told he would be deported or after hearing that Customs had declined his asylum request.
After the man arrived in the Island, the case was handed over to Customs, which rejected his asylum request on the grounds that he was not deemed to be at risk of significant physical threat in the European country he had left.
Speaking during a hearing in May, Advocate Steve Meiklejohn, representing the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service, argued that the sad nature of the European refugee crisis was that many asylum seekers were suffering from mental-health issues. He argued that granting the Syrian man the right to stay in Jersey would leave the Island at risk to ‘emotional blackmail’ from refugees and risk ‘opening the floodgates’.
At the time, Advocate Glynn responded: ‘This should not be a political decision. This should be based on an individual’s own particular set of circumstances and cannot be decided simply to avoid a floodgate situation.’
A complete set of reasons for the court’s decision are due to be published soon.